Paris Packaging Week, one of the most important events in the cosmetics packaging industry, is back again this year. The companies taking part in the event will meet in Paris from 17 to 18 January 2024 at the Porte de Versailles. Perfektüp Ambalaj could not miss an event of this importance and will be present at stand T80 at ADF – The Future of Aerosol & Dispensing Packaging Fair. The Paris Packaging Week in fact consists of 4 events taking place simultaneously: ADF, PCD, PLD and Packaging Première.
The global packaging market is booming: according to Statista it will grow by 3% year-on-year to reach a value of $1.2 trillion by 2025. Cosmetic packaging makes up a large slice of this, with the estimate being that its value will reach 33 billion by 2025. The packaging industry is at a crucial turning point, where companies are having to make strategic and stylistic choices that respect new regulations on the one hand and an increasingly discerning and demanding consumer on the other.
Packaging is not a commodity: it is a key element in brand definition, communicating value and product positioning. While it was once considered primarily for its functional value, today there is no company, from any sector, that does not recognise packaging as a strategic sector in its approach to the market.
Packaging is the silent salesman
This concept deserves a closer look, because too often it is taken for granted (often even by those who should have it well in mind). There are (at least) 4 marketing functions in which packaging plays a crucial role:
- Visual attractiveness: it is the packaging that catches the attention of consumers on shop shelves, online or physical. Eye-catching colors, innovative designs and distinctive materials can make the difference between a product that stands out and one that goes unnoticed.
- Brand communication: Packaging is a form of visual communication that helps convey brand values, identity and market position. Minimalist packaging communicates values such as simplicity and essentiality, while more elaborate packaging points to sophistication and exclusivity: both can suggest a high-end product, albeit in different ways. Similarly, packaging in a highly recyclable material such as Aluminium communicates the company’s commitment to sustainability.
- Differentiation: In a competitive market such as the cosmetics market, packaging can be a key element to differentiate a product from the competition. For example, a cosmetics line could use environmentally friendly or recyclable packaging to distinguish itself as an eco-friendly brand.
- User experience: Packaging influences the user’s experience with the product. Practical and functional packaging can improve the user experience and thus increase client loyalty. Cosmetic packaging is rich in examples of this, especially in the area of make-up.
For the cosmetics industry, this is even more important, especially with regard to the primary packaging, which is an integral and indispensable part of the product: a hairspray is appreciated for its hold and fragrance, but could never be sold in its bulk form. It is therefore the packaging that allows the end user to identify, use and prefer our product over another. The first selection criterion is that which occurs visually directly on the shop shelf (or in e-commerce); then if it is a new or little-known brand, the product’s intrinsic quality, however remarkable, cannot constitute, at first glance, a purchasing lever. Therefore, the first objective is to convince at first sight, it must be love at first sight: opting for one packaging rather than another is the discriminating factor that can make the difference in this first step of the sales process. Think of successful products such as the iconic Chanel No. 5 or Jean Paul Gaultier’s ‘shapely’ bottles: if they did not have that distinctive packaging, would we still be able to recognise them among the competition?
The evolution of cosmetic packaging: new trends
The world of packaging is evolving and undergoing a radical transformation: whereas in past decades the industry focused mainly on aesthetic and functional criteria, today it is going much further in its packaging choices.
In this context, we can therefore identify a number of trends in cosmetic packaging that will become predominant in the coming years:
Being sustainable and eco-friendly – If one thing is certain, it is that all packaging trends will converge on sustainability. Consumer choice, especially that of the younger generation, is increasingly oriented towards concepts of environmental sustainability. Material selection must therefore take this into account and choose a material that is able to convey this preference. A material such as Aluminium, for example, certainly catches the eye for its visual peculiarities and is recognised as sustainable by the public without having to communicate this. The trend towards environmentally friendly packaging is also extending into the premium sector, as could be seen at the last Luxe Pack.
Return of vintage – Another big trend, which has not only touched the cosmetics industry, is vintage. Many cosmetics brands are reintroducing coloring or minimal styling in their packaging that recalls the past: a sort of marketing of nostalgia, re-proposing retro beauty ideals, often interpreted as ‘natural’ (think of the ‘no-makeup’ that is all the rage on social media), sometimes as more sophisticated (interesting, in this sense, are the references to the male fashion style of the 1940s/1950s).
Reusable Packaging – Linked to the concept of sustainability is that of re-usable and refillable packaging. In 2022, the EU Commission published a proposal for a Regulation on Packaging and Packaging Waste, amending Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 and Directive (EU) 2019/904, with the aim of ensuring that all packaging on the EU market is reusable or recyclable in an economically and environmentally beneficial manner by 2030. A measure considered controversial by some, but one that is particularly suited to cosmetic packaging, especially in the make-up sector (where disposable compact powder compacts are once again being joined by refillable powder powder boxes).
Inclusive Packaging – According to a McKinsey study, ‘inclusive beauty’ is a rapidly growing theme. It is estimated that there are more than 1 billion differently-abled people in the world, with a spending power of $8 trillion: brands that fail to design packaging for this segment will be missing out on a number of great opportunities. Packaging must be able to interact with and be opened by everyone, regardless of physical and mental abilities (hook design, magnetic closures, better positioning for grip, Braille labels,…). Inclusive packaging not only for those with disabilities, but also for those with reduced mobility caused by age: arthritis can make even opening a jar difficult and painful.A trend that cosmetics shares with pharmaceutical packaging.
E-commerce – In the aftermath of the pandemic, online sales have steadily increased, even for cosmetics, and although values have dropped compared to the ‘terrible’ 2020, online shopping has now become a new habit. Packaging is a priority for both brands and consumers: the former must challenge issues such as safety, accessibility and authenticity; while the latter seek engagement and value connection with the brand.
Informative but minimalist packaging – In addition to the presence of information on ingredients and use, which is certainly not new, information on the materials of which the packaging is composed and indications on the correct disposal when the product is finished have appeared on the packaging. Thus, it is no longer only the benefits of the product but also its environmental impact that positively influence the purchase decision.
This implies the use of materials that are certainly safe for use, but also safe for the environment. Compliance with current regulations must be reconciled with the convenience of use by the end consumer (as well as with production and distribution costs…).
Sensory Packaging – Packaging will communicate through all the senses, not just sight. Some brands have already started to differentiate their products with tactile signs on the packaging, with universal symbols such as circles and squares, used in some cases instead of Braille (well known to the blind but not to all visually impaired). For example, Herbal Essences distinguishes its conditioner and shampoo with raised circles for the former and stripes on the latter.
The list could go on: there are so many changes cosmetic companies are undergoing when it comes to packaging.
To face this major revolution in market trends, rely on an experienced partner. Visit our colleagues from the Perfektüp Group on stand T80 at ADF – The Future of Aerosol & Dispensing Packaging Fair!