Online Exclusive: Airless Protection Gains in Skin Care

The obsession with skin care products has given the packaging business a big boost.


By Regina Maiseviciute, industry analyst, Euromonitor International

Skin care is one of the most important categories within beauty and personal care and has continued

Regina Maiseviciute, industry analyst, Euromonitor International
to show healthy development throughout the economic slowdown, recording an 8% CAGR between 2006 and 2011, with global sales reaching $96 billion in 2011. This means that skin care is very important for the packaging industry. In 2011, skin care packaging volumes exceeded 13 billion units globally.

The combined effect of an ageing population and constant beauty magazine campaigns promoting youth and wrinkle-free complexions has had a massive impact on the performance of anti-agers, which in value terms is one of the most important categories within facial care. Retail sales of anti-agers in 2011 amounted to $22 billion globally, recording a 10% CAGR rise in value sales over 2006-2011. And even though premium anti-agers are just one-eighth of total anti-agers by volume, in value terms, the category holds a much more influential position. This explains the attention that is given to packaging and its design, shape, color and functionality as the importance of its role in product promotions. Ever-growing competition between manufacturers and brands for shelf space and for consumer take-up puts a lot of pressure not only on the formulation of the particular brand, but also on its packaging. And consumers, even during more constrained economic times, are showing a sustained interest in beauty products that are seen as a forms of affordable luxury. To convey their higher-end status, anti-ager product lines require packaging that equally reflects the quality and content of the product formulation within.

In packaging terms globally, glass jars and squeezable plastic tubes account for the biggest share in

Pump closures will continue to benefit from the rise in presence of airless technology.
packaging of anti-agers. They account for 28% and 26% of pack unit volume terms, respectively. What is increasingly being given attention in the packaging of anti-agers, is the pack’s closure and dispensing mechanism in order to protect the product contents.

Protection through closure

Plastic screw closures remain the most common and most traditional closure type for packaging of anti-agers; however, other closures are gaining share and importance due to their convenience and protection of the product. Lotion pumps, in particular, are one of them and, in 2011, retail sales reached 72 billion units. One of the biggest reasons behind this success is the airless function, which is carried by a growing number of products. The popularity of this closure resides in its multifunctionality and that is the reason why most A-brands have added this closure to their products. Airless pumps deliver the product from the container with no air intake and offer superior protection to prevent drying and discoloration of the brand’s product formulation. This is extremely important in the case of anti-agers, as it keeps the product fresh for longer. At the same time, airless pumps promote efficient dosing of the product. Consumers are confident that they are using the product in the correct amount and till the very last drop.

However, there is another consideration; the fact that it is more difficult for complex airless systems to follow the sustainability path, which is becoming increasingly important for consumers. This is definitely an area that manufacturers of closures need to address. It would add to the longer-term success of the very consumer-friendly, convenient, lotion pump closure.

Is airless the future?

Pump closures will continue to benefit from the rise in presence of airless technology. Market players confirm that airless technology, which improves the ways the product is used, is seeing increasing demand across many countries, and will continue to do so. It is expected that all lotion pumps (including airless versions) will grow globally at a 5% CAGR between 2011 and 2016.

The trend for usage of natural ingredients is continuing in beauty care products. More product lines, even mass products are paraben-free, or contain fewer preservatives, which provides good potential for airless pumps. At present, the switch to airless pumps is often considered as quite a big investment. But considering the competition amongst brands for consumer take-up, investment in airless closures could well be a winner.

About the author: Regina Maiseviciute is a Packaging Industry Analyst for Eastern and Central Europe at Euromonitor International. She joined the company in October 2006. In her current position, she monitors key industry trends and issues within the packaging industry on a year-round basis and is responsible for market analysis, highlighting key trends and developments, which provide detailed insight into corporate activity and the state of the packaging industry. Before joining Euromonitor International, Maiseviciute held key roles in the public opinion and market research company for more than five years Regina has a Master degree in Sociology from Vilnius University.