This is the view of Datamonitor analyst Daniel Bone, who approached the subject at the recent in-cosmetics Asia event in Bangkok.
“Packaging plays a potentially critical role in shaping beauty consumers’ product choices, as it directly impacts core product attributes such as convenience in application and overall branding,” he says.
According to research from Bone’s company, as consumer needs evolve, so too do their expectations of what packaging should deliver; thus it is more likely to shape their purchase decisions.
Sustainability is a word that has been bandied around the industry for a while now, playing an integral part of product innovation; and now this could, and should, stretch to the packaging.
Datamonitor’s Consumer Insight research showed that half of respondents consider health and beauty products to be over-packaged, with environmental friendliness of packaging an important consideration when choosing grocery products.
Bone says that this can also benefit companies internally, as ‘designed-in’ sustainability creates operating efficiencies, such as using less packaging, which reduces supply chain costs and waste.
Consumers clued in
As consumers become more aware of environmental issues, they also value information according to Bone; who says that providing this on packaging in an easy-to-read and simple way has opened the door to digital.
“Industry players should maximize opportunities for users to interact with packaging (and the brand story in general) by embracing digital technologies in pack design,” he says.
This concept has seen an influx of Quick-Response (QR) codes and augmented reality (AR) image recognition technology being used with varying success.
“Going forward, unique interactive packaging formats will play a key role in piquing consumer interest and engagement by leveraging the "gamification" trend – especially among the key Millennial consumer segment,” claims Bone.
According to Datamonitor, across beauty categories, just one in 10 consumers globally “actively monitor new products,” suggesting a mostly passive approach to beauty shopping.
This is because more than half of beauty consumers prefer to stick with brands that they know will work for them.
Bone suggests that a breakout design can drive non-users to take a second look, shift their perceptions, and perhaps lead them to consider it as an acceptable alternative.