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Hot Times for Tubes

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: March 5, 2007, from the March 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

Tubes are hot. The European Tube Manufacturers Association (ETMA) reports output from the European tube industry will likely reach 10 billion tubes once final 2006 numbers have been tallied. According to an association press release, “This breathtaking success can be attributed to the clear advantages consumers derive from these containers. European tube manufacturers have recently launched several new applications and innovations.”

 While this growth may be largely attributed to one or two specific global tube manufacturers and generated by production in India and Asia—the number is still staggering. Consider that the current world population, at the time of publication of this article, is nearly seven billion. The cosmetics and personal care industry is the largest buyer of tubes by ETMA’s numbers, accounting for 42% of overall sales. Therefore, it may stand to reason that there is personal care product in a tube in every home around the globe.

ETMA’s bold statement lends credence to the benefits of tube packaging. Convenient for a variety of products, no matter the application, tubes offer optimal protection before dispensing and allow product to be portioned out as desired.

On top of their practicality, tubes have become upscale in appearance. Aluminum overshells, custom tube shells, elaborate cap options and other aesthetic enhancements allow tubes to self-advertise on shelf space ordinarily reserved for luxury products. It is no longer enough to simply dispense when squeezed, or for a twist mechanism to raise lipstick—product packaging is now expected to enhance the lifestyle being sold, as well as the product within.

Conversations with Suppliers and Manufacturers

When speaking with tube suppliers and equipment manufacturers, flexibility and the ability to create high-end packaging are common themes. Flexibility cannot be limited to or defined by one single aspect; businesses must offer multiple sizes and decorating options, speed to market, dispensing and cap options and creative packaging that truly reflects a brand, thereby creating techniques that secure the future of tubes as a preferred package for personal care and cosmetic products.