May 26, 2024

Valued at $17.39 billion worldwide in 2022, 1 the vegan cosmetics industry is continuing to show exciting growth and is predicted to reach $24 billion by 2028.1 Europe is a key geographical area for the market and is predicted to be worth $2.2 billion by 2028.2

Veganism might seem to be heavily focused on a specific diet, but this is only a small part of what it means to be vegan.

According to The Vegan Society, veganism is:

[…] a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly

from animals.

A vegan lifestyle considers everything a person consumes, from the food they eat to the cosmetics they apply to their skin, and more. Animal welfare and the environmental impact of cosmetics are influencing the standards that vegan consumers expect. There is a surging demand for vegan alternatives that refrain from using animal-derived ingredients and do not involve animal testing. Many industries have had to change and adapt to meet consumer preferences, from big brands developing vegan lines, to completely new, fully vegan brands.

The vegan cosmetics industry is experiencing remarkable growth, largely fuelled by the increasing opposition to animal testing. This trend is spreading rapidly in Western countries and is expected to extend its influence on numerous high-potential regions worldwide in the near future. However, it is not just vegan consumers who are driving the growth in the vegan cosmetics industry: research by Cosmetify published in 2019 found that 39% of women who only buy vegan beauty products are not actually vegan.3 Recent surveys reveal a particular inclination among British women to purchase cosmetics that have not been tested on animals, even when only one-third of these women adheres to a vegan lifestyle.1,3 Other factors contributing to this growth are the implementation of bans on animal testing in Europe and rising consumer concerns about cosmetics containing synthetic ingredients, as well as concerns about the potential harm caused by allergies or sensitivities to certain ingredients commonly found in non-vegan cosmetics, such as dairy, eggs or lanolin.

Gen Z consumers are an important rising demographic in vegan beauty. from The Vegan Society showed that veganism is popular among students in the UK,4 with 4.1% saying they are already vegan – more than double that of the general population – and a report released in 2022 showed that 43% of Gen Z never buy beauty products that have been tested on animals.5

The UK has emerged as a global leader in ethical consumerism, placing a growing emphasis on sustainability and social responsibility. This drives many UK consumers to actively seek out ethical and sustainable options, particularly vegan cosmetics. The UK also has a community of influential beauty and wellness bloggers and influencers, with remarkable impacts on consumer behaviour.

Many of these bloggers and influencers advocate for products that contain no animal ingredients and have not been tested on animals, talking about their benefits and promoting brands that align with these principles. Their advocacy has significantly contributed to the growing popularity of vegan cosmetics across the UK. Adding to this phenomenon, celebrities and influencers have had a pivotal role in promoting vegan cosmetics to a broader audience by openly expressing their support for vegan brands and products, raising awareness and stimulating consumer interest.

The surge in demand for vegan cosmetics is expected to continue, mainly driven by the growing trend of veganism. Several geographical regions have seen significant growth in vegan beauty over the last few years. Europe dominates the global vegan cosmetics market, with more than 34% revenue share in 2022; the UK, France and Germany are the top three countries in the European cosmetics market.1

According to research by The Vegan Society, more than 90% of British consumers look for third-party vegan-certified cosmetics and personal care products.6

The market’s expansion is also evident in North America, where the US stands out as a significant region with a considerable number of manufacturers and producers specialising in vegan cosmetics.

The demand for vegan cosmetics is on the rise in countries such as India and Australia, driven by a growing awareness of animal abuse issues and the rise in veganism driven by the global pandemic.

With complicated ingredient lists it is not always easy for shoppers to determine exactly what is in the products on the shelves and reports show that people are showing a tendency to avoid products with unknown ingredients.1 This is where vegan product certification bodies come into play and can be helpful to both consumers and brands. Vegan certification – such as The Vegan Society’s Vegan Trademark – allows consumers to be sure that the certified product is fully vegan and meets the vegan standards of an independent certification body. Certification also helps consumers to easily recognise vegan products, eliminating the need to go through their ingredient lists (which can be long and confusing, especially on cosmetic products). Vegan certification also helps brands because it increases consumer trust in their vegan claims and helps them shout with confidence about their vegan credentials, knowing they can rely on the certification body’s vegan standards being met, and talk about it to consumers.

As the demand for environmentally friendly products without the use of animal testing rises, more consumers are embracing the benefits of vegan alternatives. If you’re interested in exploring vegan certification and learning more about The Vegan Society’s Vegan Trademark, the most recognised vegan certification, visit our website to find out more about how to strengthen your vegan claims.