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The increasing notion of products across categories being designed for use on the go is driving consumers and brands across industries and the cosmetic sector is no different. Although not all products in this sector may lend themselves to the convenience and functionality required for such usage, this actually serves to create greater opportunities for brands to stand out. 

As consumer lifestyles change, manufacturers must have the flexibility to adapt accordingly and provide new innovations to answer emerging demands. When it comes to packaging and make-up, this means making sure the packaging does as much as the product inside to enhance the consumer’s experience. 

In the upcoming report from GlobalData, ‘Category Packaging Opportunities: Make-Up’, lead packaging analyst Gemma Hill identifies the formats and features helping brands make an impact. Drawing from research detailed in the report, we take a look at the opportunities for packaging in the make-up category. 

A crowded market: cosmetic copycats and social media discovery

The make-up market is one that is both vast and crowded with competition. According to Statista the global market is estimated to be worth $68.7bn this year and will reach a value of $84.5bn by 2024. In order to make an impact in this marketplace, brands must be able to not only offer consumers something different to the competition but be capable of reaching those consumers where they now look to find brands. According to GlobalData’s 2017 Q4 global consumer survey, 41% of consumers regularly use social media sites or apps to discover new products or brands and a full 49% of Generation Y (better known as millennials) do so.

Furthermore, with social media playing such a dominant (if not necessarily positive) role in consumers’ self-perception, it is particularly suited to promotion within the cosmetics market. As brands look to differentiate their products from the rest, they can rely on novel appearances or functionalities to help generate online buzz that will in turn draw more consumers. In doing so, they can then create a new format which may go on, at least temporarily, to establish a new standard for a product type. EOS’ egg-shaped lip balm pack is perhaps the perfect example, opening up the market to new considerations of lip balm packs but now leaving the sector needing to try something different.

As Hill explains, "EOS's egg-shaped pack spawned a plethora of copycat versions but now brands are looking for ways to differentiate themselves from the competition rather than just being a me-too."

Novelty value: innovating format without sacrificing function

The report highlights how novelty will likely continue to be a primary source of attention for make-up packaging, enabling products to benefit from the additional attention the internet can direct towards an item, while also providing an enhanced consumer experience by creating new brand rituals. A note of caution however, although novelty may initially attract attention and a product may benefit from online virality, if that pack does not work effectively or provide an actually valuable consumer experience it is just as likely to be brought down by that same online attention.   

GlobalData’s report highlights products, such as the Unifon Kiss U CC lipstick, which, rather than using the traditional stick format, instead uses a contoured moulded disk of lipstick, which the user presses their lips to. Elsewhere, aerosol formats for product types that would not be traditionally associated with such can offer new functionality to consumers. For example, Bairly Sheer spray-on blush is touted as allowing for clean product application while also being shaped to give a solid feel of control over dispensing. Manufacturers must make sure to consider this balance between providing a novel experience and making sure it provides function at least equivalent to traditional formats. 

Done correctly however, finding the right balance between novelty and function can pay significant dividends. Highlighted by the report is Revlon’s Colorstay Exactify eyeliner, which uses a ‘wheel-tip’ or ‘pizza cutter’ roll-on applicator format to give consistently precise lines. The product is notable not because it innovated the format, but because the format instead originated in premium brands and following high levels of social media interest, was picked up by mainstream brands such as Revlon. While producing copycat products is not ideal, it demonstrates how creating a suitable blend of form and function can influence the broader industry. 

Multifunctionality and increased convenience: designing around the on-the-go consumer

Focusing on function, manufacturers should consider packs that are multifunctional or place their emphasis on increasing convenience for the consumer. Beyond the expected sensory appeal of the product itself, increasing the functionality of the packaging can be a primary source for improving the usage experience. It is important to remember however, when dealing with multifunctional packs, that as with novelty designs, it is vital that the greater function is well served. If delivery systems are overly complex in the name of providing multiple functions, they may initially impress but are unlikely to encourage repeated purchases. 

Perhaps more prominent among current consumer trends however is the need to service the demand for products to be designed for use on-the-go. Attributed to modern lifestyles becoming increasingly busy, product across industries must now be assessed for suitability for use while on the move. As such, brands should consider portable packaging solutions that are able to incorporate applicators, thus making usage easier, or duo-packs and mini-kits to reduce the number of items consumers are required to carry. It should not be discounted however that successful multifunctionality in this type of pack can be more impressive than in larger formats.

GlobalData’s report highlights products such as the Bourjois Volume Reveal mascara. The product’s packaging incorporates a mirror into the side of the bottle that is designed to be the right size to view the full eye area and magnifies to three times actual size to let consumers properly see all their lashes. By incorporating such simple innovations, make-up packaging manufacturers can not only answer to consumer trends but add significant quality-of-life value to their products. Increased convenience will likely continue to drive an on-the-go economy and brands’ ability to adapt to this demand will be crucial. 

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