Differentiation is the big challenge to beauty packaging

By Andrew MCDOUGALL contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Packaging, Packaging and labeling

Differentiation is the big challenge to beauty packaging
The big challenge to the beauty packaging industry is differentiation as it becomes more difficult to make a product stand out, according to Mintel’s senior global packaging analyst, Benjamin Punchard.

This is where the prestige sector must target in order to justify products but also make them first choice for the consumer as well.

“Something different needs to be done for products to be seen and to be purchased,”​ the packaging expert said at the Luxe Pack event in New York this month. “A lot of pack types are very similar, so prestige beauty needs to make itself unique.”


As such, Punchard has identified the five megatrends to achieve the desired result in the beauty packaging sector: experience, communication, sustainability, efficacy and personalisation.

“It is important to create a brand memory through consumer experience – which packaging can create,”​ he said of the first trend. “Packaging can create a moment of discovery or engagement. It adds value.”

In an increasingly online and mobile world, communication is key to engaging consumers. Smartphones and tablets are used to shop and research more frequently nowadays and Punchard says that brands must be aware of all these platforms to ensure they stay in touch.

Possible ways to do this are through QR codes and Augmented Reality tools, which are not utilised too often in packaging. These are sometimes hidden away and seen as gimmicks rather than useful tools, so there is an opportunity here for brands to improve.

Once a trend, always a trend?

One trend that has been on the scene for a while is sustainability. The stumbling block for luxury packaging here is that quality always comes before recyclability/ sustainability.

However, sustainability is still in demand from consumers, so Punchard says there needs to be innovation to boost green packaging in the prestige sector.

These innovations also need to be properly communicated to the consumer. There has been a growing use of airless claims in cosmetics packaging, and it is important that these efficacy claims are substantiated.

“It can give the consumer the extra level of faith in a product and let them know it is working,”​ said the Mintel man. “It is increasingly important that there are more substantial claims.”


Finally, Punchard pinpointed personalisation as a big trend in packaging, and one which can really set a brand apart from others.

“Consumers want something that is unique to them. Customisation is one of the main triggers of luxury to consumer,”​ he explained.

“Limited edition also gives the consumer the level of uniqueness, especially numbered products which give a ‘one-of-a-kind’ feel.”

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