“We are already working on our program for Holiday 2015,” says Jacqueline Mink Cooper, director of retail sales, FM Brush Company. “We have a brush set packaged with a coordinating roll-up in a clear tube so the consumer sees the product right away, which makes a great impulse purchase,” explains Cooper.
RetailMeNot’s Shoppers Trend Report says that nearly half (46%) of consumers plan to start their holiday shopping before November this year, and 1 in 4 intend to have their holiday shopping completely finished by Black Friday.
“These findings reflect the shift we’ve seen over the past few years toward an extended holiday shopping season,” says Trae Bodge, senior lifestyle editor for The Real Deal by RetailMeNot. Bodge continues: “Where Black Friday used to be the kickoff to the holiday shopping season, it’s now close to the finish line for many consumers who’ve started taking advantage of deals earlier in the season and throughout the year.”
Karen Grant, vice president, industry analyst, global beauty, NPD Group, and member of Beauty Packaging’s advisory board, offered some insight about which types of products we may expect to do better in terms of sales for Holiday 2014 shopping season.
Grant explains: “What’s very different this year than we’ve seen since the recession is that skincare, which is what all the Boomers have been rushing into, is declining. It’s actually doing worse than fragrance for the first time in a decade. That’s huge for the industry.” She says, “Makeup is the hot category this year, and the fragrance market is actually doing well.”
What types of packaging might attract the consumer’s eye? Eric Clamp, Transparent Container, says, “Holographic foils, metallic or metallized paperboards—plus certain coatings and decorating techniques for cartons and boxes. These can all help turn a box into a ‘gift,’ ” he says.
Clamp adds, “Soft touch coatings have been used for a while, but they are much more in vogue now,” he adds.
Suzan Kerston, executive vice president, Bert-Co., agrees with the popularity of soft touch coatings. She explains, “A recent study showed shoppers were willing to pay 5% more for cartons that have a Soft Touch coating. Maybe texture really is the “killer” app for secondary packaging.”
The study Kerston is referring to was conducted by Professor Malcom G. Keif at California Polytechnic University. Participants chose the products in cartons that had Soft Touch coatings over those in cartons with standard coatings, even at a higher price point—equating the tactile feel with quality.
While some beauty brands go for special coatings, or ‘glitz’ for holiday gift sets, others create truly over-the-top luxury gifts. Even if only a small percentage of a brand’s fans can afford to make a purchase at extremely high price points, the items will still create a buzz, for both the brand and the retailer. One example is the items featured in the annual Neiman Marcus Christmas Book. The House of Creed bespoke fragrance is featured in this year’s edition; it’s encased in a gold bottle—and costs $425k.
Estée Lauder’s Holiday Compact Collection is glitzy every year—and unique. The brand’s fans anticipate the launch of its new designs each holiday season, and collect its holiday packaging, which always resembles jewelry more than makeup.
One of the standout designs in this year’s collection is a solid perfume compact in the shape of a martini glass. It’s filled with a festive red holiday cocktail and a lime wedge sparkling with crystals.
There is also a gold powder compact, encrusted with sparkling crystals. Expect the brand’s most loyal fans to covet the gemstone ring, engraved with “Estée Lauder Holiday 2014” on the inside. The top of the ring opens, revealing the solid perfume inside.
A fragrance always makes a great gift, and brands are launching special holiday editions in limited edition packaging, to help differentiate among competitors.
Narciso Rodriguez chose to add an atomizer bulb to its limited edition “for her” set of fragrances for the holidays. The fancy new dispenser design is featured on the eau de toilette, in the pink bottle, and the eau de parfum, in the black bottle, is sold exclusively at Sephora this holiday season. The brand worked with Aptar Beauty & Home, which produces the black atomizer bulbs.
Viktor & Rolf created a hot pink box, which resembles its Bonbon fragrance’s candy shape. The box contains its Bonbon eau de parfum, shower gel and body lotion. It was developed by Cosfibel Premium, who explained that the brand’s goal was to “develop elegant and surprising packaging.”
The box is constructed from thick FSC-certified board, with plastic twists inside to make it sturdier for transport. The box is covered with polyester paper to achieve the vibrant pink hue. It is also decorated with a ribbon and embossed with a gloss varnish.
Cosmetic brands aren’t disappointing holiday shoppers that are looking for value—and lots of product—packed inside a bag or case.
Urban Decay’s gift sets are always eye-catching, like its Full Frontal Lipstick Stash, a set of six Revolution mini lipsticks in a sturdy, reusable box. The case is covered in matte “x-ray” black-and-white images of orchids, with a glossy red UD logo.
Tarte created the Bon Voyage Collector’s Set & Travel Bag this holiday season, which is sold exclusively at Sephora. The cosmetic bag was designed to replicate the look of luggage—“the type you might bring on a Parisian holiday,” according to the brand.
The bag is the brand’s signature color, purple, with a gold design for a festive look. It’s filled with 20 full size Amazonian clay eye shadows, two full size lip products, and three more deluxe size products.
One supplier known for developing innovative bags and cases is MG New York. The supplier specializes in injection-molded containers.
“Our injection-molded containers, which are usually round or oval, can be wrapped in paper, fabric or polyurethane to create a trendy, fashion-forward look. It’s an upscale container that can be reused by the consumer,” explains Gary Korba, COO, MG New York.
Brush sets are another gift-able cosmetic accessory, and FM Brush has created a few kitschy items this season. “One of our cosmetic brush sets is packaged in a satin dress, and another is our Kabuki corset. Kitschy items make people happy when they see them—and they want to buy one for themselves, and as a gift for someone else,” Cooper says.
Gifting Nail Polish in Unexpected Ways
The nail category has seen so much growth—and competition—in recent years. This holiday season, nail brands are being very competitive by using creative design elements to keep consumers entertained and interested.
Ciate has launched its Mini Mani Manor, which is a set of 24 mini nail polish bottles packaged in a box designed to resemble a house. The “windows” inside the “house” are numbered, so users can count down to Christmas—and reveal a different nail product each day during the holiday season. It’s a package that’s truly an interactive experience, allowing the brand to begin a “conversation” with the consumer that will last for nearly a month.
Sephora also scores points this holiday season for creativity, with its paint can package. A set of 22 mini nail polishes, in the Paint the Town set, or 24 single use press pods for nails, in the Paint Party set, are packaged in tin paint buckets. The nail sets are by Sephora’s Formula X.
Sephora has also created a set of seven decorative limited edition Press Pod Gift Tags. They can be filled out and attached to a gift with the included gold ribbon. A nail pod by Formula X is attached to each card, which contains enough nail color for one two-coat manicure.
Making Paperboard & Plastic Cartons Pop
Sometimes all it takes to make a product gift-able is a paperboard box decorated in a festive way. One brand that developed a gift-able box this year is First Aid Beauty, with its set Cheers to Fab Skin. The outer carton is decorated with an image of a red bow, to inspire the consumer to think of it as a gift.
The set contains five products valued at $100, for $48. “We designed it to be a stress-free, high-impact purchase,” says Lilli Gordon, founder of First Aid Beauty. “A great holiday gift is as appealing to buy as it is to give. We had a lot of fun coming up with the design for the red bow that wraps around the exterior of the box and really pops off the shelf,” Gordon adds.
Sometimes if a box is printed with a design that has a raised texture, it creates a tactile effect, which might help persuade a shopper to pick it up, in the store.
“Gift sets are a natural place to add texture as they often have large areas that don’t need lots of type, so that the texture can really show off and contribute to the gift feel,” says Bert-Co’s Kerston.
Parfums De Coeur is completely in sync with the soft touch study Kerston explained, above. Bert-Co worked with the company to create a carton for its Pink Vanilla Kiss fragrance by Body Fantasies.
“The carton is printed with a soft touch background, plus a glossy high rise UV varnish to give detail to the images of the lips that are on the carton,” says Kerston.
Five Star Fragrance Company worked with Diamond Packaging to create the gift box for its Michael Jordan Legend Gift Set. Diamond Packaging’s QuickSet carton was converted using metallized polyester film on FSC-certified SBS paperboard.
“The carton is offset printed with transparent gold, dense black and opaque white inks, in-line with UV matte and UV high gloss coatings. The multi-level pebble-embossed basketball on the lid reinforces the Michael Jordan brand,” explains Dennis Bacchetta, director of marketing, Diamond Packaging.
Diamond Packaging’s QuickSet designs are an attractive and economical alternative to a rigid set-up box, says Bacchetta. “The Quickset structure consists of a reinforced base and lid that provides the look, feel and finished edges of a rigid set-up box,” he adds.
Leo Paper also works with customers on holiday launches each year. “There is a wide range of secondary printing processes and finishes that Leo Luxe offers that produce eye-catching magical effects,” says Bijan Pakzad, Leo Paper.
Pakzad explains, “Glitter tends to be the dominant deco or secondary process used on gift sets, but our new holographic foil process is gaining in popularity. It is applied using a hot stamping method and produces a dimensional iridescent effect that is quite stunning, and animates as the package is moved.”
Transparent Container is another supplier that produces secondary packages for gift sets each holiday season. The supplier offers different types of structural designs for paperboard, plastic and set-up boxes, which are all ideal for a kit.
“One of our capabilities that we are known for is our unique locking features, which add value, because they allow a package to be secure at the retail level. Secondary sealing isn’t necessary,” Clamp explains.
This Year’s Trends
Have there been any trends for gift packaging this year?
“Any type of special decoration, such a spot varnishes, glitter, and lamination, will make a container come alive—and pop at the counter,” says MG New York’s Korba. He adds, “Each brand always chooses the type of deco and materials that best represent their own holiday theme, so there is never really one trend.”
Leo Paper’s Pakzad, agrees, saying that a brand manager bases design decisions on several factors. “The best design strategies are always appropriate for the brand’s target audience, and will communicate the brand’s message to showcase the product in a way that makes the recipient feel special,” he says.
Pakzad adds that there are some trends. “We’re seeing a greater demand for unique packaging structures that have a secondary use.”
Korba agrees, saying, “I’ve always been a big believer in reusable packages, and they need to look extra-special, since they are designed to be kept. The majority of our company’s growth has been due to our reusable, injection-molded containers,” says Korba. “Plus,” he adds, “it makes sense for the environment.”
No matter what type of holiday-themed package you decide to develop for next year, remembering to reinforce your brand’s identity is key. Transparent Container’s Clamp says, “Choosing the right type of structure for a gift set is an important design decision, and your holiday packaging should always align with your brand strategy.”
First Aid Beauty’s Gordon adds, “It is so important to ensure that your design stands apart from the crowd, but it also always needs to capture your brand’s essence.”