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Innovation helps luxury packaging players fight recession

By Katie Bird , 24-May-2010

Despite challenging times within the sector, luxury packaging players have not stopped innovating, according to the organizers of this year’s Luxe Pack event in New York.

This year’s edition of the luxury packaging trade show was the eighth to be held in New York City, and attracted a record number of exhibitors. A total of 115 packaging players had booths, representing the fragrance, cosmetics, liquor and confectionary industries.

Last year the recession was one of the major conversation topics at the show, whereas at this year’s event, talk of the crisis was rarely heard on the show floor, show organiser Nathalie Grosdidier told CosmeticsDesign.com USA.

Even last year when the recession hit hard there were no negative consequences in terms of booth numbers. "Even in tough times you have to be present in the market place,” she explained.

Changing luxury landscape focus of seminars

However, how to cope with the changing landscape was addressed in a series of seminars where speakers discussed consumers’ changing attitudes to luxury goods and how they had been affected by challenging economic times.

In a presentation led by Marc Rosen with panelists from Coty, IFF and retailer Barneys, designing for this new consumer environment was addressed.

According to panelists, the market has changed from a sellers market, where consumers said ‘why not’ when presented with a potential purchase, to a buyer’s market, where consumers are more thoughtful and informed, wanting to try before they buy as well as seeking advice from other consumers on internet forums.

According to Rosen, innovation is key to designing for this new reality as a brand name is no longer enough to keep the consumer loyal; instead products have to deliver to keep consumer interest up.

In addition, improving interaction with the consumer base is crucial, as Debra Leipman-Yale from Arcade marketing explained in her presentation. Consumers want to trial purchases but equally do more of their research on the internet - Liepman-Yale cited focus groups where consumers discussed receiving trials through the post that would help them make their purchasing decisions.

Other sessions during the show focused on the global luxury market and how different regions have fared in the past few years.

Sustainability in luxury packaging

Sustainability was also a focus of this year’s event, and many of the companies showcased their innovations in this area.

For Grosdidier, the sustainability focus of the event was driven both by consumer attitudes and the underlying trends in the marketplace, as well as economic constraints.

“When the energy your plant uses comes from wind or solar power, it is an upfront investment that has a positive effect on the environment, but it can also save money on energy bills,” she said.

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