Market Snaphot: Eyeing trends in luxury packaging

Processors who want to lead in this market require creativity and flair as brand owners seek distinctive and innovative solutions to capture consumers' desire for high-end products.

A new study, The Future of Luxury Packaging to 2015: Global Market Forecasts, released on March 14, from Pira International, which prepares studies on and advises companies within the packaging, paper and print industry supply chain, shows a variety of trends in this packaging segment. Most notably, while the U.S. will remain the largest national market for luxury packaging, demand in China will continue to close the gap.

The luxury goods' packaging market by value in Asia/Pacific is expected to grow 7.1%/yr to 2015, led by strong growth in Chinese luxury goods sales. This figure outstrips the 4.9% per annum growth projected for the global luxury packaging market as a whole. China is now "the clear leader" in luxury packaging, accounting for 35% of world sales value in 2010. According to Pira, demand for this type of packaging in China is expected to grow by a projected 10.8% over the next five years, and luxury packaging in the country is expected to be worth $2.5 billion by 2015, up from $1.5 billion in 2010. Pira also expects that 29% of luxury products will be consumed in China, making it the world's largest luxury market.

The global luxury goods packaging market represented 3% of global consumer packaging sales in 2010 and was valued at almost $12 billion in 2010. Healthcare, cosmetics and fragrance are the largest end-use sectors for luxury packaging, accounting for around 46% of the market value in 2010, while premium alcoholic drink and gourmet food and drink rank second and third, according to the Pira study.

Packaging Key to Success for Brand Owners:

Luxe Pack Monaco 2010, held last October held at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, was the place to be if you're a converter involved in packaging for luxury goods. Exhibitors at the annual event touted products that showcase their creativity and processing expertise. 

To be relevant in today's packaging environment also means a processor needs to keep sustainability in the forefront, and the luxury packaging realm is no exception. Luxury packaging also comes in "green" as shown by Luxe Pack's inaugural awards competition, Luxe Pack in Green. The award went to the Ecolution liquid dispensing bottle from Promens, a French plastics processor with 49 plants in 20 countries. The Ecolution was chosen from more than 40 entrants.  Ecolution is made from PP and polyethylene. It uses Promens' patented Airfree dispensing technology, which has a reduced number of dispenser components (four parts compared to 12 parts in a traditional dispenser).

Luxe Pack is dominated by packaging processors but plastics and chemicals supplier DuPont also made the journey to Monaco. There, it worked to familiarize processors and brand owners with Biomax PTT, its high-performance hybrid biomaterial that helps reduce high-end packaging's environmental footprint without compromising on aesthetics and performance requirements. DuPont says that Biomax PTT provides the same level of quality as petrochemicals-based polyester packaging. Biomax PTT is made in part from renewable feedstocks, contains up to 37% renewably sourced content and provides performance similar to PBT in molding applications.

In Monaco, DuPont showcased commercial applications and concepts from around the world. In Japan, Yoshida Industries Co. Ltd. has started mass production of two containers for skincare products that have a protective outer layer of Surlyn to heighten their visual appeal. Yoshida is one of the first companies to put Surlyn 3D overmolding patented technology into practice, according to DuPont. Yoshida has commenced commercial production of containers for the skincare products of two leading brands that use both colored and decorated polyester inserts that are overmolded with a thin, transparent outer layer of Surlyn PC2000. This provides a smooth, transparent surface that has a magnifying effect on the colored/decorated insert beneath it. The creation of the thick, glass-like bottom of the container provides enhanced visual appeal for these luxury products.

The European subsidiary of Tao Jin Corp. has invested in tooling and machinery to create new shapes for the packaging of mascara and lip gloss tubes based on Surlyn 3D. And in Italy, glass manufacturer Luigi Britoil is developing new concepts for the overmolding of glass with Surlyn that has the potential for new decoration techniques, visual effects and heightened product safety.            

"We are pleased to see the number of design options for Surlyn 3D currently being considered within the cosmetics market, and are delighted to see the first concepts going into mass production," commented Philippe Milazzo, global market manager for cosmetic and personal care packaging at DuPont Cosmetic Solutions. Politech, a specialty molder of high-end packaging based in Osielsko, Poland, showcased its hexagonal cream jars and diamond-like faceted bottle caps, molded in DuPont's Surlyn PC2000 resins. Politech adopted this material for its production of jars and caps.

 

Beauty is still big business

The beauty and cosmetics business seems to be nearly recession proof, and is big business for those molders that specialize in this market segment. Dispensing systems injection molder Aptargroup Inc. reported fourth quarter sales (ending Dec. 31, 2010) for its Beauty and Home segment of $530.8 million, up 7% over the same period of 2009. The company attributed this to increased demand from the cosmetics market. "We were up against a difficult comparison to our record fourth quarter of 2009 results ($495.6 million), but we surpassed those results on the strength of our broad product portfolio and the diversity of markets we serve," Aptar CEO Peter Pfeiffer said. "Our Beauty and Home segment posted strong sales in the quarter particularly due to increased demand from the fragrance and cosmetic market."

Aptargroup (Cyrstal Lake, IL) ended 2010 in its Beauty and Home segment with net sales of $1.73 billion. The year-end report also noted that higher custom tooling sales contributed 3% to the top line. Product sales included tooling for the Beauty and Home market segment, which was up 13%, the largest increase the company has experienced.

 

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