A challenging year leads to 8% decline in sales for UK’s organic beauty and wellbeing market

The UK’s organic beauty and wellbeing market has persevered through a challenging year of trade, seeing an -8% decline in sales compared to 2022, according to the Soil Association Organic Beauty and Wellbeing Market Report.

A host of factors including the war in Ukraine, a pandemic and Brexit hangover and continuing cost-of-living crisis contributed to the downturn in the market, which saw its first year of decline following 12 consecutive years of growth. Over 60% of Soil Association Organic certified beauty and wellness brands agree that the cost-of-living crisis is the number one factor impeding the growth of potential business. One quarter cite the impact of greenwashing for negatively affecting their businesses, whilst another quarter have been affected by import and export issues – the effects of Brexit are estimated to have wiped £850m from the UK beauty industry’s export market.

However, within the sector some categories have seen strong performance this year, with Mother and Baby Care growing by a massive +65%. This category is over-indexed in baby food, with 2/3rds of baby food products in the UK being certified organic. Another sector that saw growth was Health and Personal Care, which grew by +6%. This includes oral care, deodorants, feminine hygiene, medical devices, and supplements, reflecting a wider market trend which has seen consumers prioritise products with a healthcare focus.

While 2023 was undoubtedly a tough year for many within the industry, there is an air of hope for 2024 with 90% of Soil Association Certified brands surveyed anticipating growth in the year ahead. The report predicts that there will be more visible action against greenwashing, including the EU directive’s ban on generic terms such as “environmentally friendly”,  “natural”, “biodegradable” and “eco” without relevant certification. This will be favourable for certified brands who are demonstrating their commitment to backing up their environmental claims with evidence. The report also highlight export opportunities from the resilient USA economy, along with Japan and South Korea who are developing a growing interest in green science.

The 30 page report can be downloaded here for free.