Key packaging trends and innovations in beauty and personal care

This article originally appeared in the October/November 2018 issue of Beauty Packaging.

Beauty and personal care packaging volumes continue to grow globally, driven by changing lifestyles and consumers adopting new hygiene routines. While the trend toward greater portability and affordability has led to rising demand for smaller pack sizes, functionality and sustainability in packaging also become essential purchasing criteria. In this context, packaging innovation will play a key role to further engage consumers and answer their evolving needs.


Changing lifestyles and increasingly nomadic consumers lead to rising demand for portable products. In addition, younger generations explore and try new products, supporting the growing demand for beauty products in smaller formats globally. These smaller pack sizes also allow consumers who are non-committed to either brands or products to test new ones according to their mood.

As a result, travel sizes of 0-100ml, complying with airport regulations, represent the most common size band for beauty products while also being the fastest growing size globally. More innovative packaging types are being launched to cater to this growing demand for portability.

Reinvent beauty regimens

Per capita spend on beauty and personal care products is expected to continue to increase globally. In developing markets, consumers see their disposable incomes growing and as a result change their hygiene routines, as they can afford new beauty products and formats. This primarily concerns essential toiletries, such as bath and shower, hair care and skin care products, which in terms of packaging translates into growing volumes of HDPE bottles, expected to post a 2% compound annual growth rate and generate 2.6 billion units over 2017-2022, according to Euromonitor International.

Meanwhile, as purchasing habits continue to evolve globally, premium beauty is expected to grow in all regions. This will naturally trigger higher demand for premium and innovative packaging. For example, in the US last year, Estée Lauder launched its Bobbi Brown Art Stick Liquid Lip in a colour cosmetic container that offers a convenient and playful way to apply the liquid lipstick, which makes Art Stick popular among millennials as many view colour cosmetics as a means of artistic self-expression.

Save time

Packaging innovations aim to save time and offer convenience to busy consumers – two important purchasing factors, particularly to the younger generations. As lifestyles continue to accelerate, consumers are looking for ways to save time, choosing products with more functional packaging that offers new ways of dispensing or features more convenient closures like lotion pumps or aerosol sprays over basic screw closures.

Lotion pumps, valued for their convenience, are present across many beauty categories. In addition, the rising presence of airless technology in the beauty industry is another factor driving this closure type. In the case of aerosol sprays, not only the closure offers a quick and mess-free way to apply products, but its applications in beauty continue to grow.

Save the planet

Increasingly, consumers want to actively make a difference to the environment. Sustainability therefore keeps redefining the packaging industry, with packaging launches including a growing use of post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic.

Soaper Duper, a naturally inspired brand, recently launched its distinctive bubble-shaped packaging using PCR plastic. Within its product range, the green HDPE bottles are made of 100% PCR plastic. However, squeezable plastic tubes, used in the brand’s body lotions and hand creams, present a maximum of 55% PCR plastic, as a higher percentage would make it harder for consumers to squeeze the tube. Over 2017-2022, volume sales of plastic are expected to continue to grow globally, led by squeezable plastic tubes, HDPE bottles and PET bottles, according to Euromonitor. Within these plastic types, PCR plastic is expected to represent a growing share, particularly in more developed markets, as a growing number of brands are willing to position themselves as sustainable.

In an ever more competitive environment where consumers are increasingly demanding when it comes to packaging, innovation will be essential to sustain growth, particularly in saturated markets, where volume expansion can be limited.

For more insights on beauty and personal care packaging, download Euromonitor International’s “Global Beauty Packaging: Key Trends and Innovations” report.