MONTE CARLO, Monaco – The business is back for luxury perfume and cosmetics packaging suppliers.
This was an important take away from the recent edition of Luxe Pack Monaco, the premium packaging fair which took place from 3 to 5 October in Monte Carlo, Monaco. It has put the spotlight on eco-design and sustainable solutions, including single-material, refillable and fully recycled options.
The corridors were crowded in the labyrinth-like Grimaldi Forum, where the fair stood perched above the waters lapping the Mediterranean. There, visitors searched for sustainable solutions and new suppliers amid today’s supply chain disruptions.
High-end packaging suppliers are hit by both headwinds and headwinds, but despite this, many say their business has already returned to or surpassed pre-coronavirus pandemic levels.
“We suffered through COVID-19 like everyone else, but the last fiscal year we ended in April was the best year we’ve ever done, in terms of revenue, margin, everything,” said Denis Maurin, global president. of HCT sales and innovation.
“There were a lot of retailers replenishing the stock,” he said, naming a growth factor.
“We entered this fiscal year thinking that there may not be the same amount of reorders, which is true – it’s less – but we have a lot of new projects,” Maurin continued. “In the end, we are matching the same results as last year this year. We are on track for another record year. “
Patrick Bousquel, managing director of Aptar Beauty + Home for EMEA skincare and color cosmetics, pointed out that the luxury perfume and makeup categories are booming again.
“The makeup is also bouncing back with no big flips, with recurring activities,” he continued.
Aptar’s sales rebounded to 2019 levels in 2021 and the group’s sales related to fine fragrances surpassed it.
“However, the environment is certainly still very uncertain for next year,” said Bousquel.
The business of some suppliers benefits from customers looking for local production.
“It is becoming increasingly difficult to ship goods from all over the world,” said Dominic Bakic, CEO of Bakic Packaging, where the business matched 2019 levels earlier this year.
“Now, after COVID-19, sustainability is so important,” he continued. “Companies are calculating their CO2 footprint, life cycle analysis and reporting it to their boards or stakeholders.”
The obstacles facing suppliers, meanwhile, include the energy crisis due to the war in Ukraine, inflation and rising prices.
The availability of glass is a key concern for many, but creative solutions are being found.
Over the past couple of years, Estal, for example, has produced a few glass bottles from 100% post-consumer recycled glass.
“We accept all kinds of cosmetic defects caused by production,” explained Jan Garcia, Estal’s commercial director, citing small bubbles that are sometimes trapped in the glass as an example.
To test the feasibility of the concept, the company produced 200,000 bottles and those were sold out in 15 days.
“We are now making productions of maybe 8 [million] to 10 million bottles a year, “he continued.
The manufacturing cost of these bottles is in line with that of traditional bottles, except for the additional cost of collecting the glass for recycling.
In another attempt to make luxury glass bottles more sustainable for the beauty industry, Estal took a cue from its know-how in the world of wines and spirits. The bottles of its Sustainable Bubbles collection are 35% lighter than traditional bottles, thanks to the section hollowed out at the base.
At Luxe Pack Monaco, Aptar presented its Airless Glass solution, with a snap pump that allows you to completely recycle the low weight bottle.
Among his innovations on display, Bakic presented his lightweight, 250ml. HTP smoothie bottle. Thanks to the bionic design and an extrusion technique, it uses about half the material of conventional bottles of similar size. The Smoothie model is also fully recyclable.
The Edelmann Group used different types of cardboard. At the show, he presented the recycled cardboard outer packaging now used for Nivea’s Eco Refill hand soap. A consumer buys an empty dispenser and a tablet, which can be mixed with the water in the bottle to create liquid soap. Part of the cardboard case also contains the tablets.
Sustainably sourced paper company Gmund hung a large poster above its booth advertising the group’s name and a slogan, in large white letters, reading: “F – k Plastic”.
“We have never used plastic,” said Herbert Eibach, CEO of Gmund. “We want to be clean and lean and make it clear that we are the ones who are honestly green in what we do in paper production.”
Gmund has seen a strong increase in customer demand from around the world, with an overall increase in sales on an annual basis of approximately 25%.
The company’s paper is used in the packaging of anti-aging perfumes and creams, as well as in the alcohol and food industry, especially chocolate.
“What’s new is that we are Cradle to Cradle certified,” said Eibach, adding that Gmund is the only company that makes paper entirely from 100% hemp, grass, coffee or post-consumer recycling in colors.
Innovation is the name of the game for all packaging suppliers today. Then, for its second consecutive year, Luxe Pack Monaco presented a selection of new designs created within the Make a Mark creative platform. This was led by Estal, Avery Dennison and Kurz, with the aim of accelerating innovation and sustainable solutions in luxury packaging design.
Twenty designers were asked to reinvent the future of such packaging in the categories of beverages, wines and spirits, beauty and fragrances. Estal, for example, evoked Vannity, announced to be the first phygital fragrance.
The number of Luxe Pack Monaco attendees increased this session, echoing customer demand from packaging suppliers. Attendance at the fair increased by 20% compared to the 2021 edition to 9,430 people. Of these, 53% were from outside France, including the US, UK, Italy and the Middle East, with the level of international visitors earning 5 percentage points on an annual basis.
The overall number of attendees increased by 5% compared to 2019. (No Luxe Pack Monaco events were held in 2020, due to the health crisis.)
The 2022 session saw the presence of 450 exhibitors.