Going to the essence of essential oils

The more I spend time learning about Beauty, the more I realise how deep this space is and how what sometimes seems to be just a niche product category is actually a large market trend.

Let’s take the example of essential oils. A year ago, I vaguely associated it with an old image of aromatherapy: a dusty shelf filled with dull products at the back of pharmacies stores. As I started spending more time looking for emerging beauty brands, I was surprised to observe more and more essential oils popping up on my Instagram feed: The Buff, Vitruvi, Rowse to name only a few. And here again, I went down the rabbit hole…

Essential oils can be used in many ways: in beauty, in food, in home cleaning and in medical products. The global essential oil market for personal use is large and growing, generating $5.1b in 2017 and expected to reach $25b by 2024. Looking at Google trends, consumer interest and curiosity for essential oils has reached its peak at the end of 2018.

Google trends Essential oil vs Aromatherapy — Interest since 2004

Based on my own researches, I have the conviction that the demand for essential oils is driven by sustainable market trends.

First, essential oils are at the core of the macro wellness trend pushing consumers to become a “better version of themselves” (I have already wrote a bit about this trend on this and this medium post). Unlike more sophisticated propositions such as personalised supplements or superfoods, essential oils are affordable, starting from £2 for a basic lavender oil. And they are easily accessible, Amazon UK displays 50+ top brands in its scented oils section and 7 of these top brands have more than 100 products listed.

Beauty consumers today are more knowledgable than never before. They reject the use of chemicals and use apps like SkinNinja and Yuka to make sure that their beauty products match their high expectations. Essential oils, being directly linked with plants, benefit from their ‘natural’ aura
Moreover, essential oils offer a natural solution to treat some dermatological issues, such as acne or eczema, aligned with consumers’ rising interest in alternative medical treatments. Last, some essential oils have the reputation to help with stress and anxiety, growing pains among beauty consumers.

Essential oils, at the intersection of food and beauty, enable beauty consumer to take back ownership of their self care routine. They can easily be mixed and blended with other creams, opening the doors to the DIY category. However, this last part will require even more education from the consumer, as the overwhelming choice of oils can be intimidating and some mixes are harmful for the skin.

Young Living, an essential oil company based in the US and using Amazon as one of its distribution channels, is generating more than $1b revenue per year. To me, this demonstrates the scale of the opportunity
I have the conviction that now is a good momentum for a modern brand (offering a flawless customer experience thanks to its product expertise, and leveraging social media to create an emotional link with its community) to emerge as a leader of this growing essential oils category.

If you are building such a brand, I would love to know more about you! Feel free to email me or connect via LinkedIn.

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash