Water shortages and proposed free trade agreement to impact beauty industry in 2016

 It won’t just be beauty-specific trends affecting the industry in 2016, according to analyst Mintel, which has identified key trends set to impact on consumers of nearly all industries in the UK.

Water shortages will be a huge global concern, and while Europe won’t be directly affected by the predicted period of extreme drought, the need for innovation in sourcing, recycling and manufacturing will be wide reaching. “Consumers are alive to the need of water conservation and will warm to brands that can help achieve this at a personal and public level,” said Richard Cope, senior trends consultant at Mintel. In addition, water shortages will mean lowered production, and shortages and higher prices of certain ingredients typically used in some beauty products. There could also be ramifications for spas, who may feel pressure to keep closer checks on water usage and make water recycling and research part of their corporate social responsibility.

Health and beauty products that work without water will be an area of innovation, in particular dry body and face washes. Freeze-dried botanical powders and oils will also be explored by brands as water alternatives, says Cope.

Another key issue influencing consumers will be the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the proposed free trade agreement between Europe and the US, causing consumers to seek out “purer” and “more natural” products.

Opponents to the partnership believe food safety laws and environmental legislation will ultimately be weakened, opening up the potential for untested beauty products to flood the market, among other items such as food and cleaning products. This, according to Cope, may lead clients and consumers to “go local, go natural or go DIY instead.”

An “all-natural” lifestyle is already sought after by 48% of UK consumers according to Mintel research, who prefer to buy natural and organic beauty products for health benefits. “It is our belief that these attitudes will harden across Europe,” says Cope, adding “We’ll see brands react to consumer concerns by offering greater transparency in beauty ingredients.” Taking this even further, the industry could also see a shift towards “kitchen cosmetics”, with consumers looking to their fridges and cupboards for the “purest” ingredients they can find to double as beauty boosters.