A staggering 60% of Aussie shoppers prefer to buy Australian-made beauty and personal care products, according to research done by Roy Morgan. As a portion of an $11.5 billion market that’s a veritable gold mine! (Statista estimates the industry here to be worth US$7.22 billion in 2023 and predicts steady growth of just under 2.5 % per annum over the next five years.
With that many consumers shopping for locally made products, what are some of the key trends they’re looking for? In this article, we’ll answer that question and talk to a Square seller, Beef’s Barbers, that’s made the leap to making its own haircare products. Because, while women lead the category, there’s a growing demand for good-quality Australian-made products aimed at men, too.
Let’s look at some of the main trends. Australians are famously relaxed, and that translates to low-fuss, high-impact skincare routines. The laid-back and outdoorsy lifestyle that many of us embrace contributes to a preference for effortless and natural beauty. In this environment, there’s often an emphasis on skincare products designed to achieve a healthy, glowing complexion, and makeup trends tend towards the minimal and fresh-faced look. Will your new range lean into all this? Or will you, perhaps, consciously go in a completely different direction?
Also, we may love a sunburnt country, but no-one enjoys the sting – not to mention the serious health risks – that comes with catching too many rays. Aussies are SunSmart, and sunscreens, skincare products with SPF, and after-sun care will always be in high demand. If you’re thinking about launching a range that includes SPF protection, understand that it will need to be tested and approved by the Therapeutic Goods Association. You might want to explore partnering with a manufacturer that can create products designed to your specifications and has the right licenses to work with the TGA.
In recent years, there’s been a surge in popularity among Australian beauty brands that emphasise using natural ingredients sourced from the country’s diverse and pristine environment. Validating this trend, Australians spent $236 million on natural cosmetics in the past 12 months, according to Statista. Australia’s unique flora and abundant botanicals, rich in antioxidants and vitamins, attract eco-conscious consumers seeking organic and sustainable products. With these things in mind, you might want to explore using native ingredients such as Kakadu Plum, one of the world’s richest sources of vitamin C, or other native ingredients like quandong and desert lime that offer skin-protecting properties, qualities tested over millennia in Australia’s rugged landscapes.
Aligned with the interest in sustainability that comes with using natural or organic ingredients, Australians have a strong commitment to cruelty-free and vegan ranges. Exact statistics are a little hard to come by, but older Roy Morgan data suggests 46% of consumers think it’s important to pick products with a “not tested on animals” label. A recent survey of 1,000 Australian and New Zealand consumers (albeit research commissioned by vegan advocacy groups) found 40% of respondents buy vegan cosmetics or toiletries “every time” or “often”. It’s actually illegal in Australia to test on animals ingredients intended exclusively for cosmetics; however, there’s a multi-use exemption that means ingredients also used in cleaning products or medicine may still be based on live testing. It’s a loophole the RSPCA would like to see closed. If this issue is important to you as a shopper, look for the “not tested on animals” label (and avoid anything with a sneaky “not tested on animals by us” tag). If it’s important to you as a business owner, consider applying for the ‘leaping bunny’ logo administered by the certification body Cruelty Free International.
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Another thing you’ll want to consider before launching your new range is Australia’s diverse population. The Australian Human Rights Commission estimates that 24% of Australians come from non-European and Indigenous backgrounds. When it comes to makeup, foundations and concealers, pale skin is only part of the story. More and more successful brands are including a diverse range of colours in their products.
This drive to inclusivity is part of a broader trend that sees men and non-binary shoppers embracing Australian-made grooming products and makeup. Reliable data on the value of the masc-identifying market is scarce, but 2020 research by Roy Morgan found that over a million Millennial men (34% of that demographic) had not only used skincare products but also purchased at least one in the past six months. Gen Z is surely even more attuned to personal care. It’s not only traditional grooming products, either. As more younger men challenge gender norms, the global men’s makeup market has been predicted to reach US$5 billion by 2025.
Categories like haircare products are also enjoying a surge among men of all ages. Beef’s Barbers, a Victorian brand operating in Richmond, Abbotsford and Mornington – and named after one of the owners’ dearly missed Dogue de Bordeaux – recently launched a range built on three Australian-made products: hair paste, hair clay and a sea-salt spray. It’s proof you can start small and get the details right before scaling up.
Owners Dean Robertson and Shaun Ash say, “We didn’t go down the road of white labelling products. Instead, we worked with a chemist and it took about a year to actually get the desired products that we wanted.”
We’ve been in the industry long enough now to know when a product is good quality, and we have clients back in the UK and New Zealand using our products because they’ve been developed for barbers and we’re proud to use them.”
”We’ve got three products at the moment but we’re looking into how we can expand the business by introducing more.”
We’ve got one last tip, and it’s a big one. We’ve been talking about Australian-made products and how they might be a smart move for your business. If you’re really proud of your range’s locally made status, then you might want to add the official Australian Made, Australian Grown logo, the famous green-and-gold kangaroo triangle. The logo’s consumer sentiment is off-the-charts positive, so it could be a smart move: 99% of Australians recognise the logo, 93% trust it and 93% say they prefer to buy Australian brands.
If you’re at a scale where you’re marketing to an international audience, it’s well received overseas, too. A survey of almost 4,500 participants across the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, China, France and the United Arab Emirates found that 70% of consumers spontaneously recognised Australia as the country of origin, even when they were unfamiliar with the product itself.
In this context, as Australian Made’s export manager Jessica Beard told Naturally Good, “The Australian Made logo actually becomes your brand in the first instance. And it’s a powerful brand to leverage.”
The logo is administered by the not-for-profit Australian Made organisation, and businesses that meet their criteria can apply for accreditation. It costs less than you might think, starting at $300 per year for those with an annual turnover under $300,000. Lastly, if you love the logo but just can’t see green and gold in your brand colours, they’ve got you.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. For specific advice applicable to your business, please contact a professional.