The pandemic has drastically shifted consumer behavior over the last couple of years. To keep up with the social distancing norms, people have moved to online shopping. The CPG industry has been slowly adapting to make their packaging more “e-commerce friendly”. This change is particularly more pronounced in the beauty industry.
Trends in the Beauty Industry
Before the pandemic, 85% of beauty products were sold in stores. During the pandemic, with the limited social interaction and work from home norms, in-store shopping sharply declined. The closure of brick-and-mortar stores was followed by a rise in e-commerce sales. Even though the increased e-commerce sales failed to offset the decline of in-store shopping, manufacturers are adapting to new sales models, and with that, new packaging. Packaging is the first interaction the consumer has with the product and hence brands must create a rich engaging design to elevate the product.
1. E-Commerce First
Prior to the pandemic, e-commerce was growing steadily. However, the onset of the pandemic accelerated the entire move to e-commerce. In-store purchases still exist largely, but beauty brands have also shifted a large section of their operations online. Just in the US, online sales increased by 44.4% in Q2 and 37% in Q3. Brands are also incorporating digital solutions such as AR and connected packaging to evolve.
2. Collaboration with Technology
Shift to e-commerce also means that beauty brands will now need to have the digital maturity needed to reach out to consumers online. For beauty brands, this means making better use of social media for product promotions, marketing, and even sales. They need to design packaging that is now e-commerce and social-media friendly, in line with brand compliance software. Brands can also accelerate design and label development using already-available software platforms. Label and artwork design software can improve a brand's go-to-market time and subsequently, their ability to reach out to more consumers.
3. Increased focus on self-care
With most consumers locked in their homes, the spending on beauty products shifted more towards self-care products. A lot of beauty brands released sanitizers and related products. But in general, during the trying times of the pandemic, consumers spent a lot of self-care products such as luxury hand soaps, skin care and hair care products. For instance, in France, back in March, 2000, the sale of luxury hand soaps increased eight times.
Packaging Trends in the beauty industry
1. Using packaging for storytelling
When shopping in-store, consumers can hold the products in their hands and get a feel of the product. However, with e-commerce, consumers only get to see the packaging on the screen. Brands now use social media to engage the audience and hence, having an engaging story behind each product elevates the online presence of the product. Visual storytelling allows the brand to openly express its personality and connect with the target audience.
Sephora’s #LipStories is such an example in the beauty industry. The Azerbaijan brand Gazelli skincare’s packaging has a bold and clean design, featuring black and white illustrations of Azerbaijan women in their traditional attire.
2. Packaging designs with Artistic Illustrations
While the world is moving towards minimalist designs, brands can stay apart by creating intricate artistic illustrations. Hand-drawn illustrations are a great way to focus on the human element of beauty products. For example, the packaging of Naturaglace products comes with a clean and minimal look with watercolor accents. The focus of Kerri Cosmetic’s product packaging is their logo, which is hand-drawn lips. The Colorful Drawing product lineup from Etude House has packaging covered with brush strokes.
3. Sustainability through refillable products
Sustainability has become a key concern since the pandemic. Throughout 2020 and 2021, the reliance on plastic packaging has increased since it is easier to sanitize and clean. However, in the beauty industry, plastics were a staple part of the packaging. Companies are now trying to ensure that the plastic in the packaging does not end up in landfills or can be recycled easily. Refilling is also cheaper for the consumer. Most brands allow consumers to refill the product from stores, by purchasing a refill pack, or by shipping the empty container back to the brand. Notable examples include Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen, Olika Hydrating Hand Sanitizer Spray, and the Secret Refillable Anti-Perspirant.
4. E-commerce focused packaging designs
Since 2019, minimalist designs have been a big part of packaging designs, including cosmetics and personal care products. With COVID-19 accelerating the shift to e-commerce, packaging readability became a crucial part of contemporary packaging design in the beauty industry.
While cosmetic and personal care product manufacturers are creating designs to stand out, they are also focusing on clean layouts that are easily readable during online shopping. These designs should look good on the screen. Distinctive colors and tidy typography are now an essential part of the design in the beauty industry. Minimalist and The Ordinary are prime examples of such designs. Other notable brands include Belei, ILIA Beauty, and War Paint.
5. Practical and Personal Designs
New designs are considering materials and packaging designs are that compact and easy to transport. Personalization has become a big part of the beauty industry. Brands are now personalizing products for individual customers and the packaging design is reflecting just that. My Daily Dose by Skin Inc. provides customized serums for consumers. Prose provides customized hair care products where the packaging shows how the product has been customized. Custom D.O.S.E by SkinCeuticals and Younique You-Ology are two other notable examples.
Throughout 2021, the beauty industry embraced the changes that are brought forward by the pandemic. What do you think are the most notable changes in the beauty industry this year? Let us know in the comments below.