by Katie Wieser
December 12, 2016
The ever-evolving beauty products market will continue to see changes in both product offerings and container use as consumers challenge beauty brands to win their loyalty with innovation and packaging efficiency. With more brands and products entering the beauty market, understanding consumer trends is critical to the development of personal care packaging that can win customers over either on the shelf or online.
Beauty market containers have always played by a different set of rules than those in other consumer markets, due primarily to demands for product differentiation and a desire by consumers to elevate their daily beauty routines. However, in the past few years there has been a change in how luxury is conveyed to individuals, with fewer brands focusing on glossy and metallic finishes and greater adoption of containers with subtle shaping, like slightly contoured bottles, and soft effects, like pastels and textured finishes.
Squeeze tubes, such as those used for premium creams and face products have benefited from this shift. According to Sydney Owen, marketing coordinator for Essel Propack, oval-shaped tubes that incorporate a soft matte finish have been making significant strides into the luxury market over the past few years, driven in part by the container’s material efficiency and straight-forward functionality.
Tubes and other more minimalist containers can be marketed to the modern customer who cares about sustainability and authenticity and may be turned off by packaging that seems wasteful or seems like it’s overcompensating for a lackluster product.
The face of retail has changed significantly over the past decade, not only with the rise of e-commerce sales, but also in the variety of retail outlets that sell beauty products and the blending of prestige and mass market product distinctions. This has been driven by consumer demands for unique and effective products that are available at all price points.
As a result, containers have to stand out in the sea of brands crowding every retail channel, be it CVS, Amazon, Ulta, or Trader Joe’s. The packaging also needs to match with the brand’s identity to tell a convincing story to a highly discerning consumer. These requirements have led to the use of very specific designs and value-added features that beauty producers hope speak to consumers in this blended new world.
Advances in digital printing techniques will also allow personal care producers to deliver a container that can be customized to the individual through QR codes or personalized messages. So far this type of technology has seen limited adoption, but there has been some use of digital interfacing to help match skin tones for foundation or to suggest skin care products based on a submitted image.
For consumers, the success of a beauty container is less in how it looks but more in how it functions. “With the high speed lifestyle we’re seeing now, portability is definitely the trend,” according to Owen. “On the producer’s side, it’s more about the eye-catching designs and graphics…but portability and the ability to get all the product out of the container, that’s what the consumer is looking for.”
This has caused some significant changes in the cosmetic packaging sector with the proliferation of smaller containers using durable formats, like squeeze tubes and small bottles, that can be whipped out any time a person has a moment to beautify, cleanse, or moisturize.
To add value to these tiny totables, there has been greater use of components that aid in dispensing and application. “We’ve seen brush applicators, sponge applicators, airless pumps…it’s absolutely amazing what people are coming up with,” says Owen.
To find out more about these and other trends in the beauty packaging market, check out Cosmetic & Toiletry Containers in the US, Seventh Edition,a new comprehensive Industry Study from the Freedonia Group. This study covers container demand in terms of market and product and also evaluates company market share and competitive analysis for major industry competitors.
Katie Wieser is an industry analyst at The Freedonia Group, where she writes industry studies focused on the packaging market.
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