MUMBAI: Sales of natural personal care products in India are growing twice as fast as the overall market, according to new research, and could soon make up more than half the category.

The "But Naturally!" report from research firm Nielsen India highlighted that the natural segment – which includes products made of natural, herbal and ayurvedic ingredients – is growing at 1.7 times that of the overall personal care market.

And at 6.6%, the value growth of this segment is increasing at 2.2 times that of non-naturals, the Financial Express noted. Naturals now account for 41% of the Rs 44,790 crore personal care market.

"Naturals' contribution has inched up in the last few years, growing 4-5% in the last 4-5 years," Sameer Shukla, executive director at Nielsen India, told Mint. "So, on an average, naturals is eating up 1% (category share) every year. It could go up to 50% in the next few years."

Hair oil and toilet soaps were the leading products within the natural personal care space, accounting for 34% and 30% respectively. Face care (13%), toothpaste (11%), shampoo (7%) and hand and body (6%) made up the rest.

Toothpaste, however, was the fastest growing product, according to the study, registering a 20.1% increase in sales last year; hair oil , in contrast grew only 5% while sales of toilet soaps, which already have a high household penetration, declined 1.3%.

The report further found that category growth was being driven by brands such as Patanjali and Dabur, whose entire proposition is a 'natural' one.

But, said Shukla, "the growth potential (difference) between core naturals and non-core naturals is only 2-2.5%. So non-core naturals brands can play catch up if they have adequate focus and get their communication and media channels right."

Data sourced from Financial Express, Mint; additional content by WARC staff