Amcor discusses making personal care packaging more sustainable and ecommerce-ready, highlighting its easy-to-transport recycle-ready stand-up pouch, ecommerce testing labs, ASSET Life Cycle Assessment tool, MaXQ digital packaging system

Sample article from our Sustainability & Social Responsibility

January 28, 2022 (press release) –

Has sustainability taken a back seat in the world of personal care? How can you win over digital shoppers? Find out how the pandemic has affected how consumers shop for personal care in this look into the packaging trends that will drive your brand forward in 2022.

The last 18 months posed serious challenges for the personal care sector. Pre-pandemic, 85% of beauty product purchases were made in-store. As the world went into lockdown retail stores closed, consumers avoided social gatherings, and on-premise sales suffered. Despite this, the personal care industry remains one of the most successful industries post-pandemic thanks to online sales. The strength of ecommerce is demonstrated by brand action, such as Unilever’s recent acquisition during the pandemic of direct to consumer (DTC) ecommerce pioneer Paula’s Choice (1), an internet skincare sensation; and L’Oreal’s continued investment in DTC technology to find new ways of engaging customers at home.

Here are the top personal care trends and what they mean for packaging.

1. The rise of the digital shopper

The reduction of in-store traffic during 2020/21 accelerated the shift to online shopping which was already in process. According to Euromonitor’s 2020 annual beauty survey (2), 34% of consumers can now be categorized as “digital beauty” shoppers. This means they purchase personal care products online and are also more influenced by social media content when making purchasing decisions.

TikTok and Instagram became key advertising channels for many beauty brands during the pandemic. ColorPop, Bobbi Brown and Ole Henrikson use their on-line content channels to engage with their audience, offering “how-to” make-up tutorials that improve brand visibility and loyalty.

In lieu of being able to see and test personal care products in person, compelling online content is essential to capture the attention of digital beauty shoppers. Product information should be up-to-date and include ratings and reviews that help with product perception.

Once the sale is made, consumers expect their products to arrive fast, in pristine condition and in more sustainable and convenient ecommerce-ready packaging. The risk of leaking or broken personal care packaging is especially detrimental to consumer experience and can result in product waste.

The convenience and hassle-free dispensing of Amcor’s easy to transport recycle-ready stand-up pouch makes it ideal for liquid, cream and gel products. L’Oréal and Amcor recently partnered (3) to develop a Refill Ecopack for shampoo made of recycle-ready PE mono-material film. Since one L'Oréal Ecopack is the equivalent of two standard shampoo bottles, the switch to the recycle-ready stand-up pouch reduced plastic use by 75%.

Amcor has two ecommerce testing laboratories - one in Michigan, USA and another in Gent, Belgium - to help brands certify their packaging for ecommerce. We are certified to test for ISTA 6A - Amazon’s International Safe Transit Association certification, which tests packaging on a simulated journey from manufacturer to doorstep. To find out more Download our ebook: Packaging Innovation – Winning With Ecommerce

On-line subscription boxes also skyrocketed during the pandemic. A report from Royal Mail (5) predicts that the value of the subscription box market will grow by 72% by 2022, with personalized or “curated” boxes favoured by most consumers.

Without the experience of in-store “tester” products, Amcor’s recycle-ready sachets are a great sampling tool to attract consumers and convince them to try out new products via on-line orders and subscription boxes. These sachets have up to three years of shelf-life and a compression strength of up to 1.5 tonnes. They’re ideal for samples of hard-to-hold personal care items like serums and face masks.

2. Sustainability is at the heart

While there were initial fears that sustainability would become less of a priority for consumers over the pandemic, the opposite is true. According to Euromonitor (6), the pandemic ‘brought on a new consciousness of “purpose over profit.” Consumers want brands to approach sustainability holistically - economically, environmentally and socially - and support them on their own journeys to better protect the planet.

Indeed, Amcor’s research of more than 4,000 European consumers found that 37% are determined to make a difference when it comes to more sustainable living. Eighty-three percent say they check on-pack instructions to know how to dispose of packaging. However, consumers are more confused than ever about what more sustainable packaging looks like and deciphering the meaning of various sustainability logos, claims, and messages.

In addition to the sustainability of the product itself, personal care brands can win over consumers with their packaging. Demonstrating the key benefits of ingredients and keeping on-pack sustainability messages clear and easy-to-understand helps to empower shoppers and communicate the brand’s commitments to a more sustainable future. Both Amcor’s sachets for cosmetic face masks and flow wrap for wipes with PE and PP labels respond to consumer demand for recycle-ready packaging.

Personal care brands can explore the best alternatives to their current packs. Amcor’s ASSET™ Life Cycle Assessment tool, certified by the Carbon Trust, helps brands to compare packaging's enviromental performance across its life cycle to make data-based decisions about which packaging option is right for them. And where at least a 25% reduction in carbon footprint is achieved, brands can apply for on-pack certification from the Carbon Trust, giving consumers the added reassurance of independent accreditation.

Another consideration is refillable bottles and containers, made popular by brands like The Body Shop and Diptyque. The original bottle or container is reused with refill product pouches that are lightweight and easy to ship. In 2020, P&G launched its new aluminum reusable bottle and refill pouch across its hair care brands. The refill pouch uses 60% less plastic and is recyclable, as part of the company's commitment to reduce the use of virgin petroleum plastics by 50% by 2030.

3. A new focus on health and transparency

A lasting impact of more time at home has led individuals to re-evaluate how healthy their lifestyles are: 40% of consumers want products and brands that align with their lifestyle and contain health and wellness benefits (7).

And consumers are looking for specific claims. As education deepens, they are demanding more transparency. Nielsen (8) research found that sales of personal care products that claimed to be natural fell by 1.2% in 2019. On the other hand, sales of products stating paraben-free grew by 2.3%. When cosmetic brand Kiehl’s changed the ingredients of its Ultra Facial Cream to remove parabens, sales increased by $5 million (9). And the newly launched skin care line from subscription beauty brand Glossybox is marketed as ‘no-nonsense’, with ingredients listed on the front of the packaging.

To build trust with consumers, brands are embracing digital technologies. For example, MAC, Charlotte Tilbury and L’Oréal have introduced immersive virtual reality technology into their ecommerce offerings, to help customers virtually try on make-up before purchasing.

Innovations like Amcor’s MaXQ digital packaging system enable personal care companies to use their packaging to digitally connect with consumers through personalized, targeted, two-way messages. A quick scan of the MaXQ on-pack code immediately connects the consumer to a wealth of information about the product’s origin, its ingredients, and its journey to the consumer.

While all these trends have been accelerated by the pandemic, there are no indications that consumers will be going back to their old ways. It’s therefore pivotal for brands to innovate in line with these shifts.

To find out how you can make your personal care packaging more sustainable and ecommerce ready, book a virtual coffee now with one of our experts.

Would you like to stay up to date on the latest industry trends? Sign up to receive regular information, invitations to webinars about sustainability, regulations and other current packaging topics.

(2) Euromonitor 2020 beauty survey
(3) L’Oreal and Amcor Partnership
(4) Euromonitor
(5) The UK Subscription Box Boom Report
(6) Spectrum of Sustainability, From environmental impact to social purpose in beauty and personal care
(7) IBM
(8) Nielsen research
(9) GCI research

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Chelsey Quick
Chelsey Quick
- VP Client Success -

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