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Is animal testing for cosmetics on the way out?

Source: Roy Morgan Research Single Source (Australia), n=6,333. Base: Australian women 14+ who have ever used cosmetics.
The news that the Australian Labor Party is currently consulting with the public on the possibility of phasing out the importation, manufacture, sale and advertising of cosmetics or cosmetic ingredients tested on animals is in line with a slight but undeniable shift towards cruelty-free beauty products, the latest data from Roy Morgan Research reveals.  

Asked which features were important to them when buying cosmetic products, 43% of women who use cosmetics nominated ‘Not tested on animals’, up from 40% two years earlier. Though this is not a dramatic increase, it is significant for being one of only three qualities (the others being ‘Quality brand’ and ‘Moisturising benefits’, which both rose by 0.5% or less) among the 10 features most important to Australia’s cosmetics buyers to have trended upwards since the year to March 2012. The remaining seven in the top 10 either declined or showed no change.

Important features when purchasing cosmetic products*


Source: Roy Morgan Research Single Source (Australia), n=6,333. Base: Australian women 14+ who have ever used cosmetics. *NB: these are the 10 most important features of 21 possibilities listed under the question, ‘When purchasing cosmetics products, which of the following are important to you?’

‘Not tested on animals’ is now the third-most important factor to women when purchasing cosmetics, overtaking Sun Protection Factor/SPF (40%) but behind perennial favourites ‘Value for Money’ (58%) and ‘Natural Look’ (50%).

At 46%, women aged between 50 and 64 are more likely than other age groups to name ‘Not tested on animals’ as one of their key criteria when buying cosmetics. However, the importance of this feature has risen among all age groups, with the largest proportional growth being among the 14-25 age bracket, which has seen an increase from 38% to 43%.

Buying bunny-friendly

Of Aussie women who bought cosmetics in an average six months, those who nominated ‘No animal testing’ as important to them showed a greater likelihood of buying make-up brands known for their cruelty-free policies. In the year to March 2014, these women were:

  • 41% more likely to buy Australis products
  • 40% more likely to buy Body Shop products
  • 37% more likely to buy Natio products, and
  • 32% more likely to buy Nude by Nature products.

Angela Smith, Group Account Manager – Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“The trend towards cruelty-free cosmetics is taking hold around the world, with all 28 member states of the EU, India, Israel, Norway and now the Brazilian state of São Paulo all banning cosmetics animal testing.

“Although cosmetics animal-testing does not take place in Australia, it is not technically illegal; furthermore, many companies import ingredients that have been tested on animals even if they don’t conduct the tests themselves. The legislation proposed by the ALP and the Greens would make this illegal.

“Our data indicates that this issue is gradually becoming more important to women who buy cosmetics, while features like ‘Value for money’, ‘SPF’ and ‘Natural look’ have experienced a slight decline.

“Cosmetics marketers and manufacturers keen to maintain their competitive edge in an increasingly crowded market would benefit from bearing this emerging trend in mind when planning their communications strategies — especially if the legislation is passed.”

For comments or more information please contact:

Angela Smith, Group Account Manager – Consumer Products
Office: +61 (2) 9021 9100

Related research findings

View our extensive range of Cosmetics Profiles, including Body Shop Cosmetics buyer profile, Natio cosmetics buyer profile, and Australis Cosmetics buyer profiles. These profiles provide a broad understanding of the target audience, in terms of demographics, attitudes, activities and media usage in Australia.

About Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices in each state of Australia, as well as in New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan Research has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

In Australia, Roy Morgan Research is considered to be the authoritative source of information on financial behaviour, readership, voting intentions and consumer confidence. Roy Morgan Research is a specialist in recontact customised surveys which provide invaluable and effective qualitative and quantitative information regarding customers and target markets.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%