If there’s one trend that could define the beauty and personal care market in 2018, it would be the influx of vegan offerings.

If we thought 2017 was the year that vegan beauty exploded – vegan prestige beauty products in the UK were said to have achieved a 38 percent sales rise in the 12-month period ending January, 2018 – it seems the boom continued apace and them some in 2018. As consumers increasingly turn to plant-based, cruelty-free products for either environmental, ethical or trend-led reasons, manufacturers were answering this call in droves, with barely a month going by without the latest vegan offering to market.

One such move in the market was Tengram’s acquisition of vegan make-up brand Lime Crime, meanwhile L’Oréal announced the acquisition of Logocos Naturkosmetik, a German beauty brand that sells vegan and organic beauty products. According to Alexis Perakis-Valat, L’Oréal President of the consumer products division, the move was picking up on a ‘major beauty ascending trend’, driving the company forward into the vegan market. Meanwhile Beauty Bay launched an own brand vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics range kickstarting with three new 42-shade eyeshadow color palettes that are both vegan friendly and cruelty free named Color Theory.

And it wasn’t just the west getting involved. K Beauty was making moves in the market with Cosmax announcing that it was the first Asian cosmetics manufacturer to gain Expertise Vegan Europe (EVE) certification, with Lee Kyung-soo, Coxmax Chairman and Chief Executive Office stating, “Demand for eco-friendly products like vegan and halal is increasing in the global cosmetics market. We will continue to work hard to produce vegan and halal certified products to meet various needs of global consumers.”

Former Miss South Africa Boipelo Mabe was catering to growing consumer demand in South Africa with the launch of a new vegan range in partnership with My Skincare, named My African Skincare.

And it wasn’t just the brands – retailers were getting in on the act too. Target kicked off the year with the launch of its vegan fragrance line named Good Chemistry in January – the home of Veganuary. Meanwhile UK retailer Holland & Barrett announced it was to open two vegan-stores that will stock a range of beauty products. Most recently IFF-LMR, a subsidiary of International Flavors & Fragrance,  announced it has a portfolio of 90 ingredients certified by vegan by EVE (Expertise Vegan Europe) standards.

However, while there was a definite acceleration in the market, spurred on by consumer demand and growing awareness – and we touched on the reasons why in my blog post earlier this year and look more in-depth in our in-conversation with.. ‘2018 in Review – Peter Aldis, Chief Executive of Holland & Barrett confirmed that the movement still had room to grow. “We don’t want to feel like a place for alternative hippies. We want vegan to become more mainstream and there are lots of very good reasons why it will.”

Helen Duxbury, Senior Account Manager, NPD UK Beauty, spoke earlier this year, backing this theory. Talking about the rise in vegan prestige beauty products and the growing consumer accountability movement, she said, “They not only investigate ingredients and efficacy, they want to know about traceability, and how animal friendly they are. Vegan and cruelty-free are two of the big issues for customers in 2018, but still remains a niche segment of the skincare market.”

Indeed, while vegan beauty showcased market activity that was indicative that the area of the beauty industry was more than just a fad, it is still a relatively niche market – with much more room for growth in 2019. Will the big beauty brands such as L’Oréal et all continue to invest in the market, buying out smaller niche companies to add to their portfolio, and will the trend crossover with the food market allowing the two areas of vegan living to become even more intrinsically linked by their plant-based origins? Time will tell.