Few experienced brand marketers, particularly in the image-conscious beauty sector, question the value of package design and labeling. But, it is equally important to pay attention to the materials used in packaging. New research puts eco-friendly packaging front and center.
In a blind survey of more than 5,000 consumers conducted this year by the Boston Consulting Group, 62 percent agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “It is important to me that the products I buy are packaged in environmentally friendly packaging.”
When asked to rate the sustainability of various materials, plastic had the highest negative perceptions and lowest positive perceptions of any material. Other materials fared better. Aluminum, for example, was perceived as two times more eco-friendly and 1.4 times more recyclable than plastic.
These perceptions may be alarming since many beauty products continue to be packaged in plastic, but they are rooted in reality. Plastics are a major contributor to ocean pollution while aluminum is easier to recycle than plastic, has a much higher value per ton and is infinitely recyclable where recycling plastic downgrades its quality.
But are consumers actually willing to pay more for eco-friendly packaging?
The research addressed this question directly in relation to personal care products and found that 47% of those surveyed are willing to pay at least 5% more for eco-friendly packaging.
This willingness to pay was not concentrated in a particular demographic or dependent on income. Consumers across generations, from Baby Boomers to Millennials, are equally likely to see the value in spending a small amount more for eco-friendly packaged products.
In addition, moving to eco-friendly packaging like aluminum can create a halo effect that allows brands to tap related consumer trends that add to product value such as premiumization and the desire for more natural products.
Perhaps that’s why sustainability is increasingly being shown to drive sales. The Nielsen report, Why Sustainability is Gaining Momentum with Consumers found dollar sales of products that included sustainability claims grew twice as fast as overall category growth, with the largest growth coming in the bath category.
Packaging is an important component in meeting sustainability expectations and driving growth. Brands that address consumer needs through distinctive and recyclable packaging can increase the perceived value of their products and capture market share.
To read the full report, visit: Buying Green: Quantifying the Impact of Sustainability on Purchase Decisions in Consumer Goods.