U.S. Raises Air Security Alert to Red -  An woman browses through perfume at a Sephora cosmetics store (Photo : Getty Images/Justin Sullivan )
A woman browses through perfume at a Sephora cosmetics store in the international terminal at San Francisco International Airport August 11, 2006 in San Francisco, California.

Sustainability is a priority for an increasing number of beauty consumers in the United States, a new report shows. 

NielsenIQ's Trends in Sustainable Beauty 2023 report revealed that majority of consumers (62%) consider sustainability more crucial today compared to two years ago.

However, their definitions of sustainability vary, according to the consumer intelligence company.

According to a survey conducted by NielsenIQ, 61% of consumers link sustainability to planetary benefits, 57% to the conservation of natural resources, and 54% to the reduction of pollution. Only 33% connect it to improved conditions for workers, and merely 26% associate it with societal contributions.

"Initially focused on eliminating perceived 'harmful' ingredients, consumers now seek products that not only meet clean Beauty standards but also minimize environmental impact," NielsenIQ revealed.

The research showed that within the beauty industry, segments focused on sustainability are seeing significant increases in revenue. Compostable products surged by 30.9%, while cruelty-free items rose by 18.1%. Plastic-free products saw a 12.2% growth.

This means that American consumers have shifted their preferences, actively pursuing products that meet stringent clean beauty standards with labels like "paraben-free" or "sulfate-free," while also making a substantial dent in reducing their environmental impact. 

Initially focused on removing perceived "harmful" ingredients, this shift signifies a more profound dedication to sustainability. Consumers now prioritize products that not only boast ethical ingredient choices but also show a clear dedication to lessening their environmental footprint.

As a result, there's been a surge in advancing sustainable packaging efforts, reflected in a substantial 64% rise in searches for refillable options. 

This trend, according to the research firm, spans various segments within beauty and personal care, encompassing products from deodorants to cosmetics to skincare. 

Considering the significant environmental impact of the beauty industry, which contributes roughly 120 billion units of plastic waste annually, as per Zero Waste Week, there's an urgent need for continuous innovation and development of refillable packaging solutions.

"Consumers are letting us know that sustainability is important to them, and it is a trend we can expect to continue to see in the beauty category," NielsenIQ stated. "Brands must communicate clear messages about their sustainability efforts to cater to consumers seeking products that align with their sustainability goals."