The cosmetics industry has to adapt to revised consumer expectations. We are living in unprecedented times. Even before the COVID-19 crisis, our world was full of disruption; from technology shifts and digitisation, to Gen Z and the evolution of consumer preferences. To remain successful brand managers, innovation teams, and designers will need to adapt to a ‘new normal.’
They will need to find solutions and adjust to the exponential growth of digital channels born from living in lockdowns and with ongoing social distancing restrictions; the wellness megatrend evolving to encapsulate the provenance and ethics of packaging as well as products; and the rise of environmental sensitivities. And that’s just to name a few.
Our moulded fibre packaging solution, COLOURFORM™ is an example of how future-gazing can drive innovation. It exists to reconcile the need for plastic-free, sustainable packaging with the desire for premium and bespoke aesthetics. Likewise, the creation of uncoated papers made from 100% post-consumer waste for beauty and cosmetic packaging is a further demonstration. The new Rydal Collection from James Cropper answers demand for more recycled content in packaging.
As we try to anticipate the ‘new normal’ and beyond, we partnered with futurologist Dr Ian Pearson to help us identify the top five predictions for the future of beauty and cosmetics packaging.
1. Augmented reality
It’s only a matter of time before augmented reality (AR) becomes part of our everyday lives.
In the next decade, we can expect to see this technology make its way from stores to packaging. By holding an eyeshadow palette, shoppers will have a visual representation of the make-up looks that they can create, displayed in front of them.
AR also presents an important after-sale opportunity. It can show the consumer the ‘what’s next’; providing a full understanding of what the product and packaging is made of, how it’s manufactured and what can be done with it after primary use. This could go a long way in reducing the confusion around how to recycle correctly and will both engage and educate consumers in a way that isn’t possible through the limited on-pack communication we have available today.
2. Recyclable and biodegradable solutions
Sustainability is now a mega-trend and has been building momentum for some time.
We have witnessed an increasing demand for change in sustainable packaging, particularly from the cosmetics industry. Brands, such as Floral Street, are trying to change the status quo by using our paper fibre solutions to offer products with no cello-wrap, no printed cards; just beautiful moulded boxes that are easy to recycle.
Looking to the future, we can expect to see biodegradable solutions take a whole new meaning. We are already seeing ‘natural’ innovations dominate the packaging industry. What we might see in the beauty world are exfoliants sold in packaging containing nutrients and seeds which can be planted in the garden to sprout fauna and herbs over time.
3. Packaging with a second life.
Due to the rise in social influencer ‘unboxing’ videos, consumers have come to expect the same experience with their own purchases. In the future, beauty brands need to strike the balance between offering an experience while cutting down on excessive packaging.
To do so, brands should be clever in offering reusable and refillable packaging of a very high quality. An example of a company already doing so is global cosmetics company LUSH, who approached us with a brief to create a standalone box that would hold a selection of solid bath oils. The packaging would be 100% recyclable and work as a ‘pick-n-mix’; enabling customers to choose their own selection of products, carry them home and re-use the box on their next visit to any LUSH store. This environmentally friendly solution adds a personal touch to the consumer experience. In future, we can expect to see beauty retailers offer ‘naked’ products in store, with reusable packaging available across their ranges.
4. Technology leads the way.
Cosmetics brands will continue to borrow inspiration from the interactions that consumers have with tech products, such as lipsticks and bottles which are designed to open with a scrolling or swiping gesture.
Technology will also drive the use of innovative materials, such as shape-memory alloys and polymers which will act as packaging before being reconfigured to a shape for another purpose. Think of mascara wands which can be cleaned and transformed into combs, or electric toothbrush packaging which can be used as the product’s stand or charger.
5. In-built product protection.
As we emerge from Covid-19 we expect to see demand for technology that can create packaging which protects against potentially harmful micro-organisms transferred by touch.
Anti-microbial solutions have been used in healthcare products for centuries, and our anti-microbial paper protection is a great example of what could be useful for packaging in a retail environment or subject to multiple product handling in the supply chain. The paper is specially treated with a silver compound that is proven to be safe and effective against the growth of micro-organisms, such as the anti-biotic resistant ‘superbug’ MRSA, E-coli and SARS Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
The anti-microbial system is encapsulated into the papers and boards during manufacture and remains active for the life of the product. This means it cannot be washed or rubbed off. This sort of technology will be particularly helpful now and in the future for beauty packaging that may be handled multiple times.