Herbal soaps are made from a variety of herbs like chamomile, lavender, pot marigold, lemon, yarrow, calendula, olives, mint, and other natural ingredients. They are used as alternatives to chemical soaps and are believed to help offset the corrosive effects of chemicals on skin. Several positive drivers have led to incremental growth in the herbal soap market in recent years. However, the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to alter earlier forecasted growth trajectories.
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The herbal soaps market is a highly fragmented market as easy availability of raw material and production technology has resulted in several small-scale industrial manufacturers across the globe. Simultaneously, several manufacturers from the larger cosmetics and beauty products industry also participate in the market.
Some important global players in the herbal soap market include All Things Herbal, LC Love, Sundial Brands, Chandrika, Foxhollow Herb Farm, Lush Retail, Ocean Bottom Soap, Marius Fabre, Osmia Organics, Neev Herbal, Goodcare Pharma, EO Products, Henkel SPIC, YESMARY, Cholayil, Shanghai Soap, Beauty & the Bees, Herbwish, Unilever, Herbal Soapworks, Pangea Organics, Korkut Oil Soap Industries, The JiuJi, Pelican Soap, Brittanie’s Thyme, Plantlife, Craftsman Soap Company, Patanjali, Amish Farms and Rocky Mountain Soap Company.
Product innovations and launches are a key marketing strategy adopted by most large players in the market. Several manufacturers attempt to incorporate novel products like goat’s milk, unique essential oils and hitherto overlooked natural substances in their products. Korkut Oil Soap, Osmia Organics, Lush Retail, Sundial Brands, Pangea Organics, Brittanie’s Thyme and EO Products are some companies that unveiled new products in the recent past.
Several companies specialise in hand-made herbal soaps. Some such companies include EO Products, Neev Herbal, Amish Farms, Craftsman Soap Company, Herbal Soapworks, All Things Herbal and Beauty & the Bees. However, given the rising popularity of hand-made soaps, more companies, both big and small, are expected to increase their focus on hand-made soaps in the future.
A general trend observed in the hand-made and factory-made segments of herbal soaps is that hand-made soaps find greater traction in developed economies in North America, Europe and maritime East Asia, while factory-made soaps are more popular in developing economies like India, China and the Southeast Asian nations. One reason for this is the higher pricing of hand-made soaps.
Some of the herbal soap brands available in the market include Sundial Brands’s Nubian Heritage, Goodcare Pharma’s Neem Guard, Korkut Oil Soap Industries’s Olivio, Unilever’s Hamam, All Things Herbal’s Naturally Irish, Cholayil’s Medimix, Lush Retail’s Bath Bomb, LC Love’s Jamu and Henkel SPIC’s Margo.
Offline stores, i.e. supermarkets, hypermarkets and retain stores, have accounted for a lion’s share of herbal soap sales. As a result, syndications between manufacturers and vendors is a common trend in the market. Several manufacturers also operate their own retail chains for exclusive sales of company brands. Patanjali, Lush Retail and Rocky Mountain Soap Company are examples of manufacturers who maintain their own retail chain.
Meanwhile, the online channel has also shown significant growth in the recent past and manufacturers have increased their online presence. Some companies have begun online sales through their website as well. Lush Retail is one of the companies that has gone a step further with the launch of a mobile phone app named ‘LushLab’.
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Drivers of the Herbal Soap Market
Increasing awareness about harmful effects of chemicals on skin has been a leading driver for the herbal soap market. Government encouragement to small-scale industries in several countries has also led to market growth, though it has also increased market fragmentation.
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Impact of Covid-19
Reduced disposable incomes in the aftermath of the Covid-19 induced economic crisis may cause people to turn towards cheaper factory-made herbal soaps at the cost of hand-made soaps. Increasing online purchasing tendencies may also cause companies to redouble their online marketing efforts.
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The North American and European markets have been the leading regional segments for the herbal soap market in terms of value despite not matching the populous South Asian and East Asian segments in volume. This is due to the higher cost of living in these regions.
However, the South Asian and East Asian regional segments have seen the fastest growth on account of rapidly increasing consumption by developing countries. Latin America, Oceania and Middle East and Africa are the other important regional segments.
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