The Cost Of Toiletries: Environment & Pocket

The beauty and personal care industry is worth £17 billion in the UK. As a nation, our spend on these products are on the rise, with an increase in BPC (beauty and personal care) sales out performing other retail sales in the UK. At the luxury end of the market, sales Increased 18% in two years.

These products are what make up your bathroom cabinet, make up bag and even your suitcase. Their monthly costs are often overlooked, but these are often the products that boost a weekly supermarket shop or written off as ‘self-care’ products. Here at Wizzcash, we are looking at what is motivating our spend on these products and how much you could be spending on BPC. We are also highlighting the knock-on cost for our planet and the environment around you as well as the long term effects on your financial stability, as many people could be reaching urgent financial situations and needing emergency loans to help them out because of their spend in this industry.

Financial Toiletry Trends

As reported above, the toiletry industry is worth £17 billion in the UK. This includes the full range of the industry, from luxury cosmetics to basic shampoos and hygiene products. Women aged 18 to 34 are the biggest demographic in the beauty and cosmetics markets, but as we are expected to live longer, this could start to shift. The older generation is predicted to grow 38% by 2035, and as women over 45 spend £2 billion annually, the increase in spend could be attributed to a greater number of older women.

However, there are other considerations that are impacting the markets upturn, too. This includes the rise in disposable income coinciding with the ‘self-care’ mentality that cosmetic marketing companies are taking advantage of. Products, particularly in the luxury end of the market, profess to be a miracle cure for beauty and cosmetic concerns. These promises encourage us to buy again and again, entering a financial circle that is unsustainable and unnecessary.

The rise of beauty blogging, digital unboxing and reviewing content can also be traced to be fuelling the spend in the beauty and personal care industry. Real reviews mean consumers trust a product before they buy it and are therefore more willing to buy beauty products and cosmetics online. Before beauty blogging and selfie culture, consumers were perhaps more sceptical, but the development of dedicated e-commerce sites such as ‘Feel Unique’ suggest that a large portion of customers now shop for their toiletries on line. In fact, surveys done by bloggers themselves highlight that 47% of people who watched beauty vlogs and read blogs, made “tons” of purchases off the back of this content.

All the factors that are driving consumers to make purchases in the beauty and personal care industry can be seen to be influencing harmful financial behaviours. In some cases, people are admitting they are addicted to make up, estimating they spend $300 per month in this market, (£241). If the average salary for a 30 year old in the UK (within the bracket of the largest BPC demographic) is £23,700, this works out as a monthly take home of £1,637.65 (after taxes). Thus, £241 is a huge chunk of earnings and could suggest income is not being used responsibly. Over indulging in beauty and personal care products to this extent could mean that individuals are eating into their savings and they do not have any money to cushion unexpected costs. This could lead to financial emergencies, wherein consumers are unable to cope with unexpected costs or bills, leading them to reach for a short term loan or other means of financing.

Environmental Costs Of Cosmetics

With more and more purchases being made in the beauty and personal care industry, suppliers must keep up with their demand. This means that more and more chemicals and plastic is produced to make the products we are spending money on, negatively impacting the environment. Although there has been an increase in sustainable brands and more ethical cosmetics, the knock-on effect on the environment is not decreasing.

Some of the worst offenders – both for our pockets and the environment – are travel toiletries, both the ones we buy before we go away, as well as those provided at our destinations. From your pocket’s perspective, travelsupermarket.com found that travel-sized toiletries that are suitable for hand luggage have as much as a 750 per cent more expensive than the standard sized bottles. This varies depending on the product but is allowed to continue as airports take advantage of their captive markets. From an environmental perspective, consumers buy these convenient miniatures and often discard them in their destinations. This means that the plastic bottles are not recycled and it becomes the responsibility of another country to manage tourist’s waste, which is extremely problematic for small, remote islands. Even in the UK, it is expected that 200 million miniature toiletry bottles end up in landfill from hotels every year. Environmental experts recommend re-fillable plastic bottles to help cut wastage. It could be that consumers do not experience the benefits of purchasing empty bottles because there is no product inside, which feels like you are paying for nothing. However, after just one trip, they could have paid for themselves and they could also help cut single use plastics and negative impact on the environment!

Furthermore, new marketing strategies now feature products that could offer better value for money, as they can be used for more than one area of the face or body. For example, lipsticks that double up as blushers. Soap that is nourishing for the hair and the body and so on. In theory, this is cutting down on the volume of products we are purchasing, which makes consumers feel more ethical and supportive on the environment. In practice, using a product for more areas of the body means they will deplete quicker and we will buy more frequently. Data on this is yet to be released but consumers purchasing in the BPC market should be wary of brands marking themselves as ethical alternatives.

The BPC industry is considered a ‘fast moving consumer goods’ market. This means that companies depend on their customers regularly buying high quantities of their products. Long term techniques by marketing departments encourage consumers to use their products more regularly, recommending hair needs to be washed every day for example. This will drive up the quantities at which shampoo is bought. As a result, the environment and bank accounts suffer, especially if we are regularly purchasing luxury or high-end beauty products with the mentality that this will cure all of life’s problems.

Here at Wizzcash, we believe that investment in self-care is incredibly valuable. However, self-care has so many definitions and prioritising your spending, putting a budget in place and improving your financial future can also be considered self-care. As a payday loan provider, we are able to help those who find themselves in financial emergencies. For more information about how it works, you can browse our website or get in touch with Wizzcash.