Natural beauty sales are expected to exceed $13 billion by 2018 and Nordstrom is ready to cash in. Recently, Nordstrom has dedicated both digital and in-store space to promote natural products. They have a special section on their website with over 1,000 products from brands such as Bare Minerals and Clarins. And in 46 of their store locations, they will be building “natural beauty outposts.” Hopefully, this will be the push Nordstrom needs to remain relevant with millennials.
While the beauty industry is booming, projected to reach $51.8 billion by 2020, department store growth is falling. They are one of only two “major retail category in the U.S. in which sales fell in the 11 months.” Millennials are spending online and in specialty stores such as Ulta and Sephora. In fact, 10 years after launching Sephora in JCPenney posts, it remains a shining star for the retailer. Beauty is one of JCPenney’s best-performing divisions, while other retailers are losing ground.
So what is driving the interest in natural beauty specifically? Customer education via the internet. In a Racked.com article, cosmetic chemist Perry Romanowski said, “[The internet] made consumers much more aware, and when marketers noted that consumers were more aware, you started to see claims like ‘sulfate-free’ and ‘no parabens’. That started to snowball in the mid-2000s and has been growing since then.” But Romanowski also suggests doing your own research as labels can be misleading.
“It happens all the time […] You’ll see ‘sulfate-free’ […] on conditioner, which never contains sulfates, so it’s a completely worthless claim.” Things get tricky because according to the FDA, “natural” has no defined meaning. Still, the want for natural products has never been higher. An NPD Group report shows that natural brands are 21% of skin care sales in the US. Also, 72% of all growth in skincare is because of the natural market.
So it appears to succeed in this industry, it’s best to be a natural beauty.