Genuine growth that’s far from cosmetic

In a volatile worldwide economic environment, the Beauty sector continues to display growth equivalent to that recorded in 2014, standing at approximately 4%. A noteworthy fact is that luxury goods have performed better than the mass market. And make-up did well everywhere in 2015, particularly on the Internet where it is the leading product category. Heard of the lipstick effect? It would appear to be the product that offers the best resistance to the recession and the general atmosphere of gloom!

Performances differ by geographical zone, and reflect the constant vigour of the American market, the upsurge in Asia (China, Japan and Korea) and the continued driving force of Europe and France in particular. 

Where better a place to meet up than at ALL4PACK Paris, in a country where tradition and innovation have always provided first-class support to a cutting-edge industry? 

A major source of demand for new products and solutions, Beauty is often the key driver for the entire industrial chain in a high added value profession.

If there is one area where packaging in all its forms and in every single detail is crucial, this is the one. Packaging plays a dual role of image – bearing the brand values and aesthetic appeal – and utilisation, with its practicality, handiness and ease of application. 

Just like this market, the associated packaging industry – or rather, all the industries – have a responsibility to be highly reactive, creative and in movement.

  • Highly reactive, because product launches are happening at an increasingly frantic rate, even if the leading brands are continuing to refocus their ranges, reinforcing their mainstay products with relaunches or through range extensions, which also constitutes a challenge for packaging. 

As a response to capsule collections by fashion designers, limited editions or special series are continuing to develop, in perfumes but also in so-called “fast make-up” with packs featuring ever more technical décor in terms of engraving, printing and attention to detail, and in all material types, from glass and plastic tubs to “embroidered” cardboard cases and in all forms of detail. This is often quite an accomplishment for brands!

  • Creative, because the mix in genres and styles is pushing packaging to constantly seek new solutions for male and female consumers all over the world. Globalisation has a decisive effect: multicultural influences have never been this numerous and rituals are thus blending and intermingling naturally. 

For example, the borders between skin care and make-up are becoming ever more blurred: the arrival of “primers” from the USA, the advent of BB and CC creams from Asia, increasingly liquid textures to accommodate formulae that are easy to use and produce excellent results in terms of care and protection. In skincare, “multipurpose” products have enlarged the spectrum of possibilities and forms of packaging. A new generation of “tool packs” has appeared, with the sophistication of pumps or dosing systems, nozzles and spatulas, decorative details and accessories. Mascaras and foundations have taken the form of serums, shampoos can be sprayed on dry, and eyebrows can be styled like hair and made up. 

New market segments have also emerged under the direct influence of pack systems: the cushion, which has spread from foundation to eyes and lips, offering a soft method of application. Masks have become a category in their own right, developing in all materials from fabric to silicon, and for use on the face and the body. 

  • In perpetual movement, because the Beauty sector also sees the leading underlying consumer trends in action.

For instance, the growth in so-called “natural” Beauty made from organic, botanical or plant-based sources, according to the names used, is spurring the industry to keep pushing its own limits: the composition of plastics, the lightness of glass, and of course the famous 3Rs: refill, recycle, reuse, so dear to the Japanese who started up the concept.

Major corporations in Beauty have taken on more affirmative eco-friendly stances, making the effort to eco-design their new products, from l’Oréal to Shiseido and its Earth Care Project charter, to Natura and its Ethics charter, P&G and its sustainable development report or militant brands such as Lush and Aveda.

Retailers have jumped on the bandwagon and are contributing to packaging recycling (a discount on the purchase of a perfume in return for the empty bottle).

N’oublions pas qu’en 2016 la moitié de la population mondiale est urbaine : les petites tailles voyagent et s’exposent, avec un nouveau merchandising adapté en Asie et dans ses mégalopoles

Là aussi, il s’agit d’un domaine d’innovations dans les gestes pour reproduire celui du produit grandeur nature: système pulvérisation parfum, application vernis ou rouge à lèvres ou distribution produit . L’échantillon a la part belle, surtout qu’il va prendre une nouvelle importance par le conseil et les tutorats sur internet. Même pour les parfums, car le défi est de sortir le flacon de la salle de bains et de faire découvrir ce geste de parfumage au continent asiatique encore peu initié en la matière.

Finally, Beauty remains in the sphere of personal intimacy and the notion of singularity is still important. The concept of customisation is destined for a promising future: today you can have your initials engraved on a bottle of perfume or your lipstick in your favourite store in London, Paris or Tokyo. And the trend has only just begun!

A reminder, lest we forget, that half of the world’s population are urban dwellers. Smaller formats are carried around and are exhibited, with a new tailored form of merchandising in Asia and its mega-cities. 

Here too is an area of innovation in techniques to reproduce that of the real-size product: perfume atomiser systems, nail varnish or lipstick application or product distribution. The tester is increasingly popular, and particularly so, insofar as it will take on even greater importance with tips, advice and tutorials on Internet. Also for perfume, because the challenge is to take the bottle out of the bathroom and disseminate this fragrance technique in Asia where it has yet to develop substantially.

So what about e-Beauty? We have already entered the era of e-packaging, both with packaging designed to be sold on line, and with devices, new connected beauty accessories which appear quite naturally in a product range aimed at millennials. Digital is transforming the relationship between consumers and their brands, and this will surely happen tomorrow too with their packaging. Already communication tools with QR codes and means of payment with NFC, it is taking on a new functional role.

Other areas not to be overlooked and constituting a new challenge are transport, delivery, product grouping and palletisation. These considerations take on new meaning when you consider the growth in online sales in the Beauty sector or websites which try to outsmart each other by proposing Beauty Boxes, a big hit all over the world.

So what will tomorrow bring? From customisable beauty boxes to connected mascara or new “beauty on the go” packs, a host of challenges await packaging which must constantly strive to look attractive… but on the face of it, the future still appears quite ravishing! 

Caroline MOULIN

By Caroline Moulin
NAO design trends founder

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