From gen Z to artisanal packaging: Experts give their beauty pack trends

At 2017's The Beauty Forum, sustainability was a keyword, alongside smart packaging and personalisation

Image: Glossier

The Beauty Forum, a keynote programme at Packaging Innovations London, which took place 13-14 September 2017, assessed the role of packaging in engaging beauty consumers.

What’s trending?

Speaker Jamie Mills, an analyst at GlobalData, told attendees that the company has identified three opportunities for packaging innovation in the beauty sphere, namely: sustainability, wellness and enhanced efficiency with efficacy.

According to GlobalData figures, 75% of consumers globally believe that leading an ethical and sustainable lifestyle is important to their wellbeing, while brands/ranges with natural, fresh and ethical claims are succeeding in reinforcing their position through sustainable packaging. These include L’Oréal’s Botanicals Fresh Care hair care range, which features 100% recycled and recyclable PET and Yves Rocher’s concentrated shower gels, which cut plastic use by half, thereby slicing carbon emissions.

The influence of wellness on beauty provides brands with the opportunity to differentiate within the concept of natural. And with 56% of consumers professing to be concerned about the impact of diet on their health and appearance, a wellness tie-in could prove lucrative.

Brands like the US’ Fytt promote the ‘realness’ of their ingredients with see-through packs, allowing the user to engage with juice-like formulas, while minimalist labels encourage focus on key ingredients.

The boom in alphabet creams from a few years back indicated a consumer desire to reduce the time and shelf-space taken up by beauty routines. However, conversely, there is a growing acceptance of Korea-inspired multi-step routines. GlobalData research shows that consumers want effective formulas in accelerated formats; they don’t mind increasing the number of steps to achieve the best result, but they’d like to reduce the time their routine takes. Products like La Prairie’s Line Interception Power Duo, which features two separate day- and night-use formulas in a single delivery system, fit this trend.

Mills cited customisation and the mainstream adoption of smart packaging as future trends.

Millennials make way for gen Z

The influence of the millennial generation has been discussed ad nauseam. So it was refreshing that Sarah Jones, Partner, DewGibbons + Partners, chose to zero in on generation Z, ie those consumers born after 2000.

Gen Z consumers, Jones explained, are digitally native, having grown up with the devices the rest of us adopted as teens or adults. They are visually led, but because they’re bombarded with thousands of images daily, they also have extremely short attention spans. Therefore, brands seeking to engage them must be distinctive and attractive in every brand setting, especially via social media and smartphone-optimised sites.

Fortunately, this generation loves beauty and is willing to invest. Areas of opportunity particularly exist for bespoke products, as gen Zs are resolutely individual, while authenticity is likewise appreciated by these consumers, who demand the brands they buy are transparent, sustainable, champions of diversity and, of course, gorgeous.

Labels championed by Jones as being gen Z-friendly include the new ASOS beauty range, which boasts 46 shades of lipstick; Milk Makeup and Glossier, which both have the impactful, minimalist labelling that communicates so well online; and Rihanna’s new Fenty Beauty line. Based on Jones’ checklist, Fenty Beauty is the Holy Grail for gen Z beauty aficionados, combining authenticity (the singer was heavily involved it its creation), diversity (it launched with 40 foundation shades) and visual impact (the hexagonal Match Stix contain magnets, allowing the packs to click together in a honeycomb formation).

Green is the new black

Zeze Oriaikhi-Sao is the founder of South African-inspired brand Malée. She spoke about her experience as an independent brand trying to create luxury personal care sustainably. She highlighted the gaping difference between what consumers expect from a ‘green’ brand – transparent, uncomplicated labelling backed up with seals of approval from ethical accreditation organisations – and the reality of being a ‘green’ manufacturer.

A massive 95% of emissions related to beauty products are in the supply chain, rather than on an operational level, so communication with and accountability from your suppliers is paramount; likewise, Oriaikhi-Sao noted that you can adopt the ISO4046 water footprint standard, but 95% of the water used in a shower gel, for instance, is at consumer use phase.

When it comes to packaging, however, there is a real opportunity for independent brands to leverage the ‘economies of small’ in their favour and support artisanal communities – illustrators, potters, etc – from their local area. This, Oriaikhi-Sao said, provides brand differentiation, while also supporting local talent. An additional benefit of using artisans is the avoidance of MOQs from traditional suppliers, which can be a hurdle for smaller companies.



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