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The Future Of Packaging In The Beauty Industry

Explore the current landscape of packaging within the beauty industry and explore how global factors will continue to shape the future of packaging in the beauty industry.

Charmaine Luk
Charmaine LukPublished 12 min read
The Future Of Packaging In The Beauty Industry

Driven by changes in consumer demands and growing environmental awareness, packaging in the beauty industry continues to evolve rapidly. As new technology continues to dominate most industries, we see no exception with beauty packaging. Sustainable packaging has never been more accessible for brands and with innovation, we continue to see rapid growth and adoption of new eco-friendly materials and practices that minimize environmental impact. 

Technology through smart packaging offers avenues for beauty packaging to be revolutionized thus enhancing the consumer experience. The future of the beauty packaging industry will continue to be shaped by advancements in innovation, shifts in consumer preferences and competition from the rise of new brands. Beauty brands will have to stay ahead of these changes to see how they can best leverage packaging designs for their products to foster brand loyalty, tap into new markets, and capture the attention of global consumers.

The Current Landscape of Packaging in the Beauty Industry

Environmental Consciousness

Over the last decade, sustainability has become an inescapable topic, dominating conversations and guiding business decisions. As consumers shift from wanting to expect when it comes to brands providing environmentally-conscious products, it is evident that this remains true within the beauty industry. 

Beauty Packaging Kraft Sustainable Folding Carton
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Consequently, we have witnessed an increase in the elimination of plastic packaging when it comes to packaging for beauty products such that glass bottles and paper-based materials have become the go-tos for beauty product packaging. The growth in the use of paper-based packaging is a result of its remarkable versatility and durability, enabling brands to ensure the safety of their products whilst sharing their stories and values. 

Additionally, they are an easy switch that allows brands to begin to communicate their commitment to sustainability. In addition to eco-friendly inks and coatings, paper-based packaging can be an extremely low-environmental-impact option. 

One of our clients, Bareaya, uses a kraft rigid box with a custom insert to illustrate their commitment to providing sustainable alternatives to disposable razors. The custom insert, designed through our structural design service, keeps the environment in mind as it is designed with the goal of housing the razors whilst minimizing unnecessary material. With minimal print on kraft paper packaging, the box maximizes its potential for proper recycling.

Bareaya Sustainable Kraft Rigid Box Packaging
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Moreover, there has been an influx of strategic collaboration opportunities that allow for sustainable packaging initiatives that would enable brands to further their efforts. By partnering with eco-conscious packaging providers or environmental organizations, brands can now seek external expertise and resources to achieve even more sustainable outcomes. Embracing FSC packaging is a simple way to guarantee the responsible sourcing of materials that further positively contribute to local communities. Certifications such as FSC serve as a visible active commitment from brands to responsible and transparent practices, which can thus influence the purchasing decisions of consumers and reinforce a brand’s positioning and values.

Mindful Design Decisions

As a result of globalization and the maturation of the beauty industry, consumers are now faced with an overwhelming number of options for each product they look to purchase. With consumers more carefully weighing their options, packaging has emerged as a key deciding factor amongst products where quality remains high. As aesthetically pleasing packaging is more likely to attract potential customers, brands continue to seek new and creative ways to communicate their story, values and unique selling points through their packaging. Distinct color schemes are often used to convey a brand’s identity. 

More recently, with the emergence of quiet luxury, simplicity and pureness, we have seen minimalism used in many packaging designs. OUAI is a prime example that uses muted neutral colors to embody the essence of minimalistic luxury. The modest design aims to resonate with consumers seeking products that have a timeless design and formulas void of harmful chemicals. Along the theme of quiet luxury, they’re able to communicate that their products are made using high-quality ingredients and are to be viewed as long-term investments.

OUAI Minimalistic Packaging Luxury
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The Role of Innovation in Beauty Packaging

Innovation in Sustainability

With consumers highly aware of their ecological footprints, innovation has been at the center of the quest for sustainability. As a result, beauty industry packaging has seen the emergence of a remarkable variety of environmentally responsible packaging options. One of the avenues that we see significant exploration in is the innovation of sustainable materials. Just to name a few, mushroom mycelium, magnetic micro materials, corn plastic, water-soluble materials and plantable seed packaging are all viable alternatives to conventional packaging.

We also see solutions that focus on minimizing waste by creating packaging materials through repurposing materials such as old fishing nets, cow manure, grass, seaweed and the discarded residue from the leather manufacturing process. These creative solutions allow us to reduce single-use packaging waste and take packaging innovation beyond what we could have imagined.

The innovation doesn’t end at packaging materials, innovations of eco-friendly inks and coatings have allowed for the reduction of plastics and petroleum allowing for packaging to be more easily recycled. Vegetable-based inks, soy-based inks along with other inks that are curable by UV and electronic beam reduce harmful chemicals and eliminate the need for solvents.

Some have even taken a completely different approach to adapting their product to plastic-free packaging options. By adapting their products to concentrated formulas or solids, brands look to shift towards alternative packaging as opposed to plastic packaging often used for water-based formulas. Ultimately, technological innovations have allowed for the exploration of options that eliminate complex layers that can hinder recyclability, thus supporting green consumption through lower-impact solutions.

Beauty Products Minimal Packaging Sustainable
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Innovation’s impact on beauty packaging extends beyond sustainability, technological advancements have transformed the entire packaging production process. Through economies of scale, luxurious packaging is more accessible and affordable than ever before. 

Innovation in Design Technology

With 3D printers and the experimentation of new techniques for embellishments on packaging, beauty brands can now create packaging that is truly remarkable and eye-catching to capture their consumers’ attention. With little limitations, brands can bring their imaginations to life, ultimately providing surreal unboxing experiences to their consumers. If you’d like to design luxury packaging for your own beauty brand, PackMojo offers a range of products that you can select from.

Digital technology has also led to the emergence of smart packaging. Smart packaging encompasses both active and intelligent packaging. Active packaging focuses on factors such as moisture control which are crucial in maintaining the quality of your products during storage and transportation. Intelligent packaging, on the other hand, aims to add value to the consumer experience.

QR codes, NFC tags and barcodes have appeared to be valuable tools that allow beauty brands to provide information such as a product’s ingredients, usage, sourcing or recycling instructions. This acts as an interactive way to engage buyers whilst maintaining their sustainability and transparency goals. With the integration of digital elements in smart packaging, brands can now bridge the gap between physical and virtual worlds for entertainment purposes like creating augmented reality experiences or establishing trust by verifying the authenticity of products. 

Smart Packaging QR Code Technology
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Consumer Preferences & Their Impact on Packaging

Sustainability Considerations

With a remarkable 88% of buyers seeking brands that can help them address their environmental concerns, it is evident that sustainability has become a significant factor in consumer preferences. In fact, 47% of buyers are willing to pay extra for sustainable packaging. This strong desire from consumers has nudged beauty brands to be more proactive in seeking packaging solutions that are both functional and minimize environmental footprint. Now, packaging stands as an opportunity for a brand to protect their product and demonstrate their commitment to the environment. 

Beyond the use of environmentally friendly packaging, companies explore strategies to minimize waste output by using post-consumer recycled materials, adopting designs that use less material and embracing circular packaging. Circular packaging refers to the concept of designing packaging that can either be chemically or biologically reused or recycled. By embracing circular packaging, beauty brands can aim to be more resource-efficient thus minimizing the waste output of the industry as a whole. PackMojo’s packaging embraces circular packaging principles by using materials with at least 50% post-consumer content, feel free to explore our product catalog to browse the variety of options available.

Interactive Unboxing Experiences

In addition to sustainability, consumer preferences have shifted to favor creating more and more memorable consumer experiences. With over 90,000 people searching for “unboxing” on YouTube every month, unboxing videos have become the fourth most influential social media content for users when making purchasing decisions. Investing in unboxing experiences that consumers are excited to share online can help beauty brands unlock the potential of using unboxing videos as a marketing tactic. On top of aesthetics, creating packaging that is interactive and engaging can help to deliver the desired “wow” factor allowing brands to increase their reach and influence.

Unboxing Experience Beauty Packaging
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Since social media is essentially used as a marketing platform for individuals as well, consumers may also be more likely to share content of your products across their social platforms when they feel as though your packaging design aligns with their personal identity. For example, individuals with a minimalist lifestyle may gravitate towards posting products where the packaging reflects this aesthetic and supports the image the consumer is trying to present of themselves.

Nowadays, 81% of buyers will research products online before committing to a purchase with 62% of unboxing video viewers doing so whilst researching a product illustrating the pivotal role this type of content plays in swaying buyers’ decisions. Lavish unboxing experiences can be achieved with many boxes. Beauty companies may consider different types of rigid boxes such as a rigid drawer box, magnetic closure rigid box or a shoulder and neck rigid box for a touch of opulence.

The Impact of New Brands on Beauty Packaging

Standing Out From the Crowd

With the constant introduction of new brands, beauty companies are facing the challenge of differentiating themselves within the market to capture the attention of consumers. Beauty brands must continue to embrace innovative and efficient packaging to stay ahead of the curve such as providing personalized and customized goods. With consumers craving products tailored to their unique preferences and needs, personalized products and packaging can help to truly offer an individualized experience making consumers feel valued and important. This can show that brands are willing to go the extra mile to provide a sense of exclusivity to their clients which can thus nurture brand loyalty. 

Personalized Color Packaging Beauty
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This personalized touch may even encourage their digital-savvy consumers to share their experience on social media thus creating a ripple effect of brand awareness. In this digital age, word-of-mouth sharing through influencer marketing holds the potential to attract large amounts of attention through virality on social media platforms.

With the rise of social media, consumers can now access images and information about a brand’s product regardless of their location. Brands must thus, design their packaging to adapt to this by designing packaging attractive during the online shopping experience and to capture buyers’ attention on shelves but also on online shopping sites. Additional details such as spot UV, foil stamping or embossing can help to make your packaging appear more luxurious.

With endless products to choose from, transparency will continue to grow in importance among consumers. Consumers will continue to seek brands that are transparent with their processes but also the ingredients that they use. With the high value placed on transparency, consumers are more willing to pay more for products where brands are open about their practices and choose to provide this information clearly on their packaging. By prioritizing communicating transparency when designing packaging, brands can thus help to further build trust, foster loyalty and remain competitive within the market.

Expanding to New Markets

As new brands enter the picture, beauty companies should consider market dynamics as well. The Asia Pacific beauty industry has been valued at USD 16.8 billion, with China accounting for three-fifths of it. The Asia Pacific continues to emerge as the world's largest consumer of luxury goods, with China as the world’s second-largest beauty market after the US. The region’s strong economic growth, increasing urbanization, rising disposable income and expected continued increase in young consumers will continue to drive the demand for beauty products in this area. 

Sustainability Beauty Packaging Folding Carton
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To effectively tap into this market, beauty brands must consider designing packaging that appeals to these consumers, taking into consideration cultural preferences as well as incorporating aesthetics and elements that resonate with these regions. Brands may even consider targeting smaller groups within these growing markets by drawing packaging inspiration from cultural or heritage designs. It is no longer enough to solely focus on designs that appeal and cater to a Western audience, brands must instead embrace diversity and connect with consumers worldwide. Importing packaging from China can be an great way to help you gain better access to this market. 

As awareness of health and environmental concerns continues to heighten, we will also witness a growing demand for natural and organic beauty products. Consumers in countries with aging populations such as Japan and Korea will also increase the volume of buyers seeking products with anti-aging properties. With this in mind, beauty companies may adapt their packaging to emphasize these properties within their products should they want to leverage the rising demand for such beauty product solutions.

Looking Ahead

Sustainability Continues to Drive Innovation

As sustainability continues to stay at the forefront of everyone’s mind, companies will continue to explore avenues to showcase their commitment to environmental responsibility. We can expect to see continued growth in innovative packaging materials and the widespread adoption of compostable alternatives. As circular packaging continues to gain popularity, we may see beauty brands implementing refillable packaging systems or exploring the versatility of innovative materials that support the circular packaging model.

To further the recyclability of their packaging, beauty brands will increasingly turn to eco-friendly inks or explore print-free options such as embossing or die-cutting text. Sustainability will continue to be a driving factor in brand loyalty as consumers continue to choose to repurchase from brands that are actively prioritizing the environment.

Further Implementation of Technology

In regards to technology, we can expect brands to integrate more digital elements into their packaging. In 2023, 41% of fragrance launches included ethical and environmental claims, which was a significant increase from the 18% reported in 2019. AI and RFID technology will achieve non-negotiable transparency as the approach of “quiet sustainability” emerges.

Quiet sustainability” treats environmental credibility as a necessary inclusion of product packaging without compromising its luxurious appeal. Beauty brands will thus be inclined to find creative solutions to embed sustainability aspects and claims into their packaging designs to strike a balance between aesthetics and eco-consciousness such that we will continue to see smart packaging solutions play a prominent role. 

QR Code Sustainable Transparency Packaging
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In addition to sustainability information, brands will continue to employ elements like QR codes and NFC to foster transparency and build trust with consumers. These technologies can be used to provide comprehensive information about the product, usage guidelines and even fun interactive experiences, catering for the growing demand for “clean beauty”.

"Clean Beauty" & Nostalgic Design Elements Emerge

Clean beauty” leans into the idea of simplicity with a focus on efficacy and the reduction of unneeded layers. We will see the “clean beauty” movement, though originally referring to the products themselves, permeate into packaging design as brands embrace the minimalist packaging aesthetic which can be easily recognized by its clean lines, simple color palettes, and clear labeling. With simplified and streamlined packaging, brands can convey their commitment to a clean and clutter-free approach to their products. As technology and social media continue to drive much of society, we will see packaging continue to serve as a powerful marketing tool to influence consumer perceptions and purchase decisions.

Another intriguing trend we may see is beauty brands leveraging the feeling of nostalgia. We may see brands adopt more and more heritage and throwback designs to play on the sense of identity among consumers aiming to establish emotional and personal connections. Cultural or heritage-inspired designs can further evoke a sense of pride, generating a sense of loyalty amongst consumers and brands. These designs can also be used to highlight ingredients or formulas inspired by ancient practices to emphasize their long-standing efficacy and timeless tradition. These designs can help to add an authentic touch, thus resonating with consumers who seek proven results and nostalgia.

Colorful Branding Packaging Beauty Folding Carton
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Closing Thoughts

The future of packaging in the beauty industry continues to hold immense potential for growth in innovation and sustainability. Beauty brands will continue to rise to the challenge of adopting increasingly sustainable packaging solutions. Technology used in smart packaging will make it easier for brands to communicate valuable product, ethical and environmental information thus allowing brands to resonate more strongly with their consumers’ values. Brands will need to design packaging with the intention of leveraging social media as a key digital marketing strategy to exhibit their products and gain further exposure.

Furthermore, as the Asia-Pacific market continues to grow, beauty brands must design inclusive packaging that allows them to tap into this region and meet the diverse needs and preferences of buyers in this market. The future of beauty packaging is ever-changing and will continue to adapt based on consumer preferences. Thus, staying ahead of trends and consumer demands will continue to be key for beauty brands aiming to dominate the market and leave lasting impressions on their consumers. 

At PackMojo we believe that packaging can help you foster meaningful connections with consumers. Explore our range of products to get inspired and explore how you can create a lasting impression on buyers.

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