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Learning From France’s Savvy Beauty Consumers

By: Eva Martin Fernandez
Posted: March 7, 2011, from the March 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Packaging can play a key role in capturing these consumers’ attention, if the package’s design mirrors the look and feel of prestige brands in the marketplace. Brand owners should consider using decorative effects or coloration to help masstige brands resemble prestige counterparts. These steps will capture the aspirational consumer—one who wants the chic prestige product but is not willing to pay for the brand.

Beautiful packaging captures consumers’ eyes—and wallets. In both the U.S. and Europe, MWV has studied the notion of “counter worthiness”—meaning why consumers choose to display certain beauty products on their shelves or counters. MWV has found that beautifully designed packages often end up on a consumer’s bathroom counter or shelf so that she can see them constantly.

Brands that end up in a visual place often get used more—which means that the consumer will often have to replace the product more often. MWV’s research showed that women in Paris prefer tapered, feminine shapes for their products, and also prefer the look of glass jars vs. plastic. This insight yields two separate takeaways for brand owners to evaluate in 2011. First, brand owners should pay close attention to beauty when designing packaging. Pay attention to the sleek shape and other decorative effects that glass jars and dispensers afford, and work with a reputable packaging manufacturer to determine how to make this format appropriate for masstige skin care applications.

Next, the insight provides a real opportunity to help educate consumers on more hygienic packaging options than jars. Take airless pumps and dispensers, for instance. Airless dispensers fully protect the formulation from contact with oxygen, which ultimately preserves the efficacy of the product. Plus, because the consumer only comes in contact with the formulation when it is actually dispensed, the product is not routinely compromised by any oils or residues on the hands.

Additionally, European consumers have a strong interest in natural beauty and personal care products, and the market for organic and eco-friendly beauty products continues to grow—and is anticipated to outpace overall packaging over the next several years. However, there could be greater attention by industry players to the best packaging option for these natural products. [The January/February feature Doing More with Less and the November 2010 feature Sustainable Innovation touch on the subject of packaging natural products.]