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Packaging Skin Care: Insights for a Healthy Future

By: Earl Trout
Posted: May 4, 2011, from the May 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

Skin Care: Poised for Growth

As the U.S. continues to emerge from the recent economic downturn, the beauty industry is carefully monitoring purchasing trends from American consumers—including the brightest spot in the industry: skin care. In a study released in June 2010, consulting firm Kline & Company found that sales of skin care products have grown, even when the U.S. personal care market is growing at a rate below the GDP. Skin care was the only beauty care segment that grew during the recession, averaging 4%.

As the skin care segment continues to grow, so does the interest in airless dispensing systems. In 2010, MWV led a study surrounding consumer preferences for and frustrations with airless dispensing systems among facial moisturizers and anti-aging skin care. MWV’s research identified opportunities for new brands to reach consumers, but in order to have the best opportunity for purchase, brand owners need to understand the importance of packaging and how it has the power to move consumers’ purchasing decisions.

Masstige Brands Seizing Opportunities to Reach New Customers

The economy significantly impacted American consumers’ approach to shopping. Mintel research (2010) shows that 33% of consumers prioritized necessities above all other purchases. Consumer frugality has become the new normal [features by Miriam Quart: Reviving Personal Care Brands and Aspirational Consumers Turn Nostalgic, as well as other features, notably by Euromonitor International also explore this topic]. Brands need to find new ways to attract and retain their consumers by offering higher-quality, lower-priced options at the point of sale.

Skin care products are no exception. Consumers who once focused their spending on prestige products began to carefully monitor their budgets and gravitate toward more affordable brands found at drug and grocery stores. Some masstige brands seized the opportunity to connect with these consumers by scaling up the quality of their products. To attract customers accustomed to the luxurious look and feel of prestige products, masstige brands elevated their packaging by adding decorative effects or using airless dispensers for a sleeker appearance on the shelf and more positive experience at home.