In the last few years, the makeup category has raced ahead of the long-time leader skin care. This isn’t as surprising as it seems, as the millennial customer is typically more interested in instantaneous results that colour cosmetics provide over somewhat dubious claims made by some anti-ageing formulas. This is particularly relevant for that all-important selfie! Brands are only too eager to cater to this demand with a multitude of new launches, and they are highlighting youthful celebrity faces to garner eyeballs and have a larger impact on various social media channels. In May 2016, four of the industry’s leading players, viz., LVMH, Estée Lauder, Shiseido and CoverGirl made major announcements within a day or so of each other. They tied up with fashionistas having a wide fan base and social media following to promote their products and also planned to launch their range in large retail chains across major markets worldwide.
Research has shown colour cosmetics to be poised for enormous growth in the days ahead – thereby benefiting the colour cosmetics packaging market. The maximum demand is predicted to be in facial, lip makeup and nail and eye-care products. Multi-benefit products providing UV protection and anti-ageing benefits should also see heightened demand. Product differentiation is absolutely critical in this cut-throat market and manufacturers are compelled to respond with new cosmetic textures and formats. The U.S and France are the largest cosmetic markets in North America and Europe on account of New York and Paris being the fashion capitals of the world and people there being a lot more fashion conscious than in other countries.
A rising demand for colour cosmetics requires more emphasis on product packaging as most experts agree that it plays a key role in the consumer decision-making process – whether they purchase from a traditional retail store or an e-commerce platform. Colour cosmetics and packaging go hand in hand as the packaging is the first thing that the customer sees, telling them the fashion story and enticing them to make the purchase. Research conducted on makeup shopping habits has shown that customers prefer to discover products on their own without any kind of pressure from sales representatives. That is why open sell environments have been focussing on cosmetic packaging as the key differentiator. Customers increasingly want to roam around the store freely and make their own choices. That is why packaging that is attractive enough to call attention to itself, properly descriptive and easily distinguishes its brand from competitors is what consumers are looking for and is particularly important. Certain brands have begun to use clean, bold, playful, innovative and graphic packaging to try and cement their position among the most prestigious makeup brands both nationally and internationally.
Another trend seen in recent times is providing self-help tutorials, so consumers know exactly how to use the cosmetics they choose for the best effect. While printed cosmetics application instructions are quite common, some brands are going one step further and connecting with millennials via their preferred medium – mobile devices. A few companies provide live demonstrations, some use conductive ink printed look cards while others place their cards on the phone, directly allowing them to connect with their customers for demo videos. Millennials as a broad group seem to prefer interactive colour cosmetics that look good on them while simultaneously providing a unique or individual experience. Modern technology has allowed brands to create an entire end-to-end experience that enables customers to do their research, instantly access product catalogues, see live demos and even purchase and share cosmetic products entirely through the Internet.
Sustainable packaging is also high on the list of a millennial shopper’s priorities. Alternative materials such as refillable compacts and paperboard are some solutions being adopted by the industry. Some companies have launched modular, refillable palettes that eliminate the need to remove the pans, potentially breaking them. Customers are very concerned with the impact that packaging can have on the environment; and eco-friendly cosmetic packaging and alternate materials to traditional plastics should occupy a much larger share going forward. It will be very interesting to see how brands, suppliers and customers navigate the all but assured intersection of sustainable packaging with the cosmetics industry in the days to come.