Hi bluesybikerchick, thanks for the question. I have provided some
background market research on the natural soap industry, some related
news and links to related organizations and websites. I hope this
helps. Please request clarification if you require further assistance
with your question.
NATURAL SOAP MARKET RESEARCH:
"According to Natural Foods Merchandiser (NFM), the natural products
industry grew by 11% from 1998 to 1999 and total sales in 1999
exceeded 28 billion dollars. NFM reported that sales of natural body
care products experienced similar growth, with sales in natural food
stores increasing by more than 12% from 1998 to 1999. Customers are
buying handmade natural soap in record numbers. Vermont Soapworks, one
of the industry leaders, has experienced sales increases of more than
35% in each of the last 5 years. To keep up with consumer demand,
Vermont Soapworks completed an expansion project in 2000 that boosted
capacity by 50%. Other handcrafted soapmakers have experienced similar
"Merchandising strategies have contributed greatly to the sizzling
growth of handmade natural soap. Unpackaged bars of soap presented in
colorful and rustic displays and clear bulk bins are boosting sales.
Shoppers can't help but approach the displays and pick up the soap,
inhale the aroma, admire the rainbow of natural ingredients and buy
it. Unpackaged bars of soap in the displays typically sell 4 to 5
times faster than the same soap in its usual colorful packaging. Not
only do the displays sell natural soap faster, they virtually
eliminate consumer packaging. Many of the merchandising displays are
also educational. Often, a creative chart is attached to the display
that informs customers of the appropriate skin type for each bar of
soap in the display. Selling unpackaged natural soap reduces the
producer's unit costs, and those savings are often passed on to
retailers and consumers.
Sample and trial strategies are also boosting natural soap sales. Some
soapmakers provide factory "seconds," usually under-size soap
trimmings, to retailers so customers can sample the product in the
store. Another popular natural soap merchandising strategy is to allow
customers to cut their own soap from a brick, with the sale price
usually determined by weight. Because handmade natural soap is not
usually sold into mass-market venues, these merchandising techniques
provide customers with a shopping experience that is unique to the
natural products market."
Natural Personal Care Products Market
"Natural Personal Care Products Clean Up the Market with 51.9% Growth
New York, (SOAPWIRE via PRWEB) -- Retailers and marketers are glowing
over the performance of the natural personal care products market,
surpassed $2.6 billion in retail sales and grown by 51.9% from 1998 to
the present. According to The U.S. Market for Natural Personal Care
Products, a new report published by Packaged Facts available at
MarketResearch.com, more Americans are taking a holistic approach to
maintaining both body and mind, combining grooming and beauty products
free of synthetic ingredients with nutraceuticals and stress relief
programs, resulting in extraordinary gains in the category."
US Natural Personal Care Market
"The $4.6 billion U.S. natural personal care market (NBJ) continues to
grow at double-digit rates. Driven by the health and wellness trend,
this area is by far the fastest growing area of personal care.
According to San Francisco, CA-based Spence Information Services
(SPINS), the hair care segment of the natural personal care market is
growing at a rate of 17% annually and represents 15% of natural
personal care total sales, compared with 37% for skin care."
Natural Products Industry
<<The natural products industry is part of what Nutrition Business
Journal (NBJ) calls the "Healthy Planet, Healthy Products" (HP2)
market. NBJ calculates the HP2 market at $440 billion. "These products
and services have been driven by a segment of the population seeking
companies and solutions that reflect their concern for both personal
and environmental health," said Grant Ferrier, publisher of NBJ.
"Consumer demand for healthier lifestyles and a healthier planet have
also impacted government policy and product development -- creating
opportunity for two or three generations of entrepreneurs." >>
Market Trends: The U.S. Cosmeceuticals Market
"New attitudes about beauty, the burgeoning pop prestige retail
channel, and America's changing ethnic mix are all driving sales.
At $12.4 billion and posting strong progress, consumer skincare,
haircare, and makeup products that beautify as they address health
problems or concerns are a booming market. The idea of
?cosmeceuticals? began with a few anti-aging preps in the early 1990s,
and now even encompasses shampoos with stress-relieving scents, or
lipstick with sunscreen. New attitudes about beauty, the burgeoning
pop prestige retail channel, and America?s changing ethnic mix are all
driving sales. But finding the right niche is not easy: This new
Packaged Facts report is organized to help execs compete successfully
in the highly fragmented cosmeceuticals marketplace. Packaged Facts?
trademark in-depth analysis is complemented by historical and
projected dollar data, brand shares, and Simmons demographic
Beaver Falls soap maker expects sales to triple with introduction of new brand
Pittsburg Business Times 1/3/05
<<And after expanding to $1 million in revenue last year, Beaver
Falls-based Sensibility Soaps Inc. believes it's ready to help push
that frontier into the niche of bath and beauty products.
"We've tried to ride that wave of all-natural and organic," said Lynn
Betz, who started the company with her husband, Thom. "Because that
market is such a growing one, we've tried to position the company to
take full advantage of that wave.">>
Sweetly Scented Success
" In addition to soaps and candles, the company also manufactures and
sells other personal-care products, such as salves, lip balm, lotions,
body gels and perfumes.
Aside from showcasing its Hawaii-made products, the company's six
stores on Kauai, Maui, Oahu and in Monterey, Calif. also serve another
purpose: research and development for the wholesale side of the
business, which has 500 accounts, including Hilo Hattie, DFS Galleria
and ABC Stores. "If we make something new in the store and it sells
out in a day, then we know we have a winner," says Connella. The
company has grown by an average of 25 percent annually (except for
2001), from a $4,000 per year cottage industry in 1991 to $5 million
in sales in 2003."
"Today there is a heightened awareness of the possible adverse effects
of many of the synthetic additives in commercial skin care products.
Because of this, many people are turning to all natural soap products.
Even large companies are starting to advertise "natural ingredients"
in their products. But Beware! The addition of one or two natural
ingredients does not make a product "all natural".
Thus the growing demand for natural soap products has spawned a new
opportunity for smaller soap manufactures to provide specialty natural
soap products to the market. A small soap making business can easily
be started in your garage or basement. "
Bernama The Malaysian National News Agency
July 1, 2003
<<"Based on the market and demand potential we would be also
increasing our production of soap noodles to 90,000 metric tonnes in
the future," he said.
He said the company was also planning to invest another RM7 million
later on for the addition of another soap noodle processor.>>
Business and Industry
Health Products Business
"Just about everyone knows (or should know) the role of soap and other
bath products in maintaining personal cleanliness. However, many
consumers are unaware of the advantages of using natural soaps, shower
gels and bath salts over the more common cleansing products sold in
mainstream supermarkets. Today, a variety of natural bath products are
available, designed to perform an array of functions: cleanse, relax,
soothe, stimulate, deodorize (as well as add fragrance), even treat
problem skin. Savvy consumers looking for healthier, more effective
ways of cleaning their bodies and ensuring a comfortable bathing
experience will come to you for natural solutions, so it pays to know
about what soaps and other cleansing products are available to suit
their individual needs."
Sunday Business Post
June 18, 2000
<<A customer profile created through marketing campaigns shows that
the soaps are most popular among urban women aged over 25.
The US market is becoming lucrative. "We are currently supplying there
via an agent, to the hotel market," said Watkins. "We are
manufacturing for other companies who wish to sell homemade soaps
Kildare County Enterprise Board has helped, with business training and
a financial package that helped this venture get off the ground.
"They gave us an employment grant and told us about business plans.
They provided retail management courses, we set up a stand at the
County Enterprise Board and that got us into shops all over the
country," said Watkins.>>
October 13, 1997
<<The most popular bar soaps are deodorant formulations, followed by
complexion bars, all-family bars and value bars, the Colgate
spokeswoman says. Shaped and novelty soaps remain popular, especially
for gifts and as decorative items for the bath. Such natural soaps as
the Tom's of Maine line represent a solid niche with a loyal
Tom's of Maine products are made from a natural soap base augmented by
such ingredients as jojoba, olive oil, vitamin E, sage and
<<Personal soaps, both liquids and bars, generated $1.65 bil in sales
for the year ending 6/30/97. Of the $1.36 bil in mass market sales of
personal bar soap for the year, food stores accounted for $753.6 mil,
according to Information Resources Inc (IRI). Among personal liquid
soaps, supermarkets brought in $156 mil of that segment's total volume
of $292.1 mil. Discount stores' volume in the bar soaps segment was
$471.7 mil and in liquid soaps, $105.6 mil. Drug stores' volume in the
bar soaps segment was $130.9 mil, while liquids generated $30.5 mil.
Companies such as Procter & Gamble have introduced new products such
as its Ivory Moisture Care to increase their share of the personal
soap market. The company is supporting the launch with a $25 mil
marketing effort in order to win share from Lever Bros' Dove bar.
Lever's latest product is Pure Rain Lever 2000, which has $13 mil in
marketing support. The company has also debuted a deodorant version of
Caress, with a $10 mil ad support campaign. The article includes more
Natural Foods Merchandiser
Natural Soap Companies/ Case Studies
Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild, Inc.
The Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association - The leading U.S.
trade association for the personal care products industry.
The Handmade Toiletries Network - Association for the promotion of
Google search terms:
"natural soap" "market research"
"natural soap market"
"natural soap sales"
"handcrafted soap" market
"handmade soap" market
Lexis Nexis Business Search
Clarification of Answer by
11 Feb 2005 09:30 PST
Hello again- I have EXTENSIVELY searched the web and lexis-nexis for
everything related to the natural handcrafted soap industry. As you
are probably aware, there are some packaged market research reports
that may include niche market data, but they are often very expensive,
sometimes in the thousands. The information already provided and the
information below reflects the best quality free information available
on the industry that I could find. I hope this helps.
This newsletter offers lots of data and information on the soap
industry including its growth rate. According to its statistics in
March 2004, 12% of people who already use natural personal care
products increased their usage, the market has seen an annual growth
rate of 144% between 1996-2000, 38% between 2000-2001 and 29% in 2002.
It continues to grow and in the market itself, soap and bath products
equal 18% of the market, skin care products 32%, hair care 18% and
oral care 9%.
This is the website that that article originated from and they also
offer newsletter about the latest soapmaking industry news. I have
also contacted these people to get a figure for the annual sales of
handmade soaps. Again, I will post it as soon as I get it which will
hopefully be tomorrow.
Consumers Are In A Lather Over Natural Soap
"Handcrafted in small batches, natural soap is gaining converts from
coast-to-coast and overseas. Customers are snapping it up in record
numbers. Sales at Vermont Soapworks have increased by more than 35% in
each of the last 3 years. The three largest handmade soap companies -
Vermont Soapworks, Sunfeather and Woodspirit - each have annual sales
around $1 million and are forecasting growth. Vermont Soapworks will
complete a 50% expansion of its facility this summer. Hundreds of
smaller businesses are following their lead.
Soapers, as they call themselves, are finding success with creative
marketing strategies. For example, unpackaged bars of soap presented
in colorful and rustic displays are boosting sales. Shoppers can't
help but approach the display and pick up the soap, inhale the aroma,
admire the natural ingredients and buy it. Much like microbreweries
have been successful by making small batches with natural ingredients,
"microsoapworks" have the same handcrafted appeal."
"From general information I have been able to gather from serious
soapmakers (those who are truly considering all their costs) about
profit margins, you will need to sell at least $100,000 worth of
product in order to pay yourself a salary of about $20,000 per year.
For a $35,000 yearly salary, raise that sales figure to $175,000."
With annual gross revenues of $70,000, Prairileand Herbs has already
come a long way, but they aren't done yet! Over the next five years,
Prairileand Herbs will expand greatly by increasing the size of their
perennial herb gardens and completing a building addition to function
primarily as a classroom where they can teach monthly classes on herbs
and making herbal bath and body products in a more comfortable
Plans also of course include continuing to increase their customer base.
"Over the past two years the handcrafted soap industry has seen an
explosion of interest -- from beginners to those starting their own
businesses. With the increased interest, so comes thousands of
websites. Let your guide of Soap Making lead you to the best, most
informative, useful and up-to-date sites in the Soap Making Realm! "
This source estimates the market in the thousands:
"Our clients, and thousands of people around the world are finding
out, there is absolutely no comparison! You will never want to go
back to commercially produced soap again!!"
This article highlights several success stories in the handmade soap
industry some of their annual earnings and earning statistics like
This site gives you all the info you need about starting up in the
soapmaking industry -info such as cosmetic permits and the amount
you'll need to sell your product for in order to make a profit are all
on the site. They also offer a newsletter which will be offering
future articles about soapmaking and the industry and you can sign up
for it by clicking the link on the bottom of the page or emailing them
I have also contacted these people to try and get an accurate and
recent figure for the overall annual gross of the handmade soap market
-I am awaiting their response and will post it asap -hopefully
NEWS ARTICLES ON THE NATURAL SOAP INDUSTRY:
October 29, 2002
"The website, she added, has enabled the company to publicise the
advantages of the handmade soap and moisturisers to the growing market
for natural products and especially those seeking alternatives for
sensitive skin and conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and dry skin
much more effectively."
October 17, 2000
"The small but growing natural soap industry caters to
health-conscious consumers, many of whom develop dermatitis or dry
skin when using mass-produced, brand-name varieties.
Arnell bought some how-to books and called other natural soap-makers
throughout the nation for advice. After six months of promising
results experimenting with different base ingredients -- an amalgam of
palm, coconut and olive oils, and sodium hydroxide -- the time came to
he Associated Press
July 27, 2000
"Sales of natural products has tripled from $6 billion 1993 to $17
billion in 1998, and is expected to rise to nearly $30 billion by the
end of this year, according to SPINS, a San Francisco-based research
company that tracks natural product sales."
The Boston Globe
October 13, 2002
"So popular are these old-fashioned, natural soaps that there are now
thousands of Web sites devoted to selling the work of cottage soap
makers.Having looked through nearly 200 Web sites, we list here a few
whose products were particularly beautiful, interesting, or unusual.
Handmade soap generally costs $4 to $6 a bar, and many of these
companies offer an array of other bath and body products. All sell via
the Internet, and most take orders or provide information by phone.
"It is true that people these days want a more natural product. The
handmade soap industry is booming here in the USA and in Canada. Once
you use handmade soap, you will never go back to using the commercial
Soapmakers' Business Network
This site shows the 500 best small business of which handmade soap is
a part. If you look in the article directory it gives tips and ideas
for marketing these small businesses and especially, for setting up an
online business. This might help to give you some ideas for starting
your own business.