Looking the part

2 April 2012

For packaged goods such as perfumes, cosmetics or spirits, even at the top end of the consumer ladder, product differentiation is of growing importance. David Longfield reports

Widespread reports tell that the luxury goods sector is in a state of boom internationally, despite the continuing economic belt-tightening affecting most of the world’s developed economies. Those high-wealth consumer segments with money to burn are doing so in abundance, and they’re putting their retail faith into the well-established, world famous brands.

The Wall Street Journal reported in February that global leader in the luxury segment, LVMH, had recorded a 20% growth in sales for the last quarter of 2011 alone. Much of the activity is being driven by China and other rapidly growing Asian economies. Internet analysis company iResearch Inc recently cited a 68.8% surge in online sales of high-end brands in the country, to exceed 10 billion yuan (US$1.58 billion) for the first time. The forecast is for this market in China to continue growing at a rate of 30% for the next few years, hitting turnover of about 37 billion yuan (US$5.85 billion) by 2015, according to iResearch. And that’s just in China, where many second and third-tier brands are not currently being sold. So globally speaking, it’s a very healthy market to be in.

Shelf stand-out

Familiar in the industry for some years, DuPont’s Surlyn 3D technology has previously been confined to use in the overmoulding of a single or multilayer polymer inner container with the glass-like transparent Surlyn resins. At the February PCD Congress cosmetics expo, the company showed off a new development in partnership with the high-end glass producer Bormioli Luigi and Italian injection moulding specialist Pibiblast: the overmoulding of a bottle with Surlyn 3D.

The new concept, known as Linkx, has been achieved using Bormioli Luigi’s patented Sparkx glass formulation – stronger and more durable than ordinary glass, and particularly clearer in appearance. The company says the resulting bottle has “almost limitless” potential in terms of colours and shapes, as well as the finish of both internal and external surfaces.

“The glass provides high resistance to chemicals and alcohol and a luxurious sense of weight,” says Bormioli Luigi marketing manager Corrado Lusetti. “The Surlyn shell can be used to magnify, enhance and durably protect the visual effect of the bottle, as well as rendering it far less susceptible to breakage or damage. At the same time, the material’s favourable tactile properties make the bottle both smooth and pleasant to touch.”

Designed by French luxury design specialist QSLD, the companies exhibited the first new concept produced with the Linkx technique: a twisted-shape glass inner bottle, accentuated by thick outer walls of a Surlyn cube. QSLD selected a smoky, charcoal grey for the Surlyn outer layer and a gold inner, to emphasise the contrast of the shapes.

“One of the amazing possibilities of Surlyn 3D technology is the ability to create two contrasting shapes, each of them decorated differently,” says QSLD president Christophe Guichard.

Austria-based Stölzle Glass Group reports that a “stand-out” perfumery product on its stand at the February PCD Congress cosmetics show in Paris was the custom-designed 50ml bottle it produced for French cosmetics company Black Up.

“Sharply rectangular, the bottle features a scoop out of the front face giving the illusion of a bottle floating within a bottle,” Stölzle says. “The scoop effect is repeated on the metallised gold cap that follows the lines of the bottle.”

Stölzle Flaconnage’s upgraded decoration factory in Köflach offers state-of-the-art technology including hotfoil stamping and twin line spraying.

Majoring in cosmetics and personal care packaging and applicators, US-based Topline-Primapack has launched the Crystallize Your Lips lipstick collection for Swarovski. Designed to complement the crystal specialist’s Aura by Swarovski fragrance line, the slimline Crystallize Your Lips products feature a two-part cap – a long sheath in shiny silver anodized aluminium, on which is placed an injected zamac (alloy of zinc, aluminium, magnesium and copper) piece, galvanized in the same shade. A Swarovski Elements crystal is set in the top, positioned in a recess created during the injection process.

Shining example

With a smooth and light texture, Crystallize Your Lips lipstick is enriched with micronized Swarovski crystal powder and the pearlescent iridescent Crystal Shine. The stick is decorated with a print evoking crystal facets and opens to give a floral powdery fragrance. The range comprises six shades.

Topline Products acquired primary packaging supplier Primapack in 2011. The company has recently appointed G Scott Desson as VP of its China operations. He will oversee all production and manufacturing operations for Topline in China, where the company has several manufacturing facilities.

Glass and metal packaging producer Ardagh Group featured among the winners at the 2012 iF (Industrie Forum Design) Packaging Design Awards for Absolut Glimmer – a limited edition bottle it produced for Pernod Ricard’s Swedish vodka brand Absolut.

The eye-catching Glimmer bottle was produced and decorated in-line at Ardagh’s plant in Limmared, Sweden. Despite its textured, jewelled-effect appearance, the bottle is made entirely from glass, so remains 100% recyclable.

“We pride ourselves in producing sustainable and versatile packaging solutions, and to gain such prestigious recognition for new product developments in both glass and metal is testament to our commitment to design innovation,” said Ardagh Group CEO, Niall Wall.

Ingenious protection

An increasingly important factor for luxury brands in the global market place is brand protection. London-based Ingenia Technology has developed a patented Laser Surface Authentication (LSA) system, which exploits the natural ‘randomness’ in the structure of materials used for a products’ packaging. A laser scattering technique measures a three-dimensional surface topography and creates a unique ID, or ‘fingerprint’, which is recorded, stored and can later be re-scanned and checked in the field anywhere in the world.

Ingenia has tested the LSA system on standard and security papers, plastics substrates and laminates, cartonboard, printed products and matt and gloss cartons, and found that all exhibit a strong signature that can be authenticated.

As nothing is added to a product, there is nothing to be copied; and there is no “unsightly” code that can be removed in a bid to avoid supply chain monitoring.

The first folding carton manufacturer to take advantage of Ingenia’s LSA is Germany-based Cartondruck – producer of premium folding boxes for high-end perfume and cosmetics brands, hair colour products and fine confectionery and other luxury products.

Cartondruck head of sales and marketing Steffen Schnizer says: “The LSA system is simple and 100% reliable, and it works with different materials. Our customers don’t have to come to us or to send the product to us to have a scan made. We are happy to have this market advantage.”

Wooden gift packs sector ‘buoyant’

One MD of a British company specialising in “mid to lower end” wooden gift packaging and point of sale has described the market as “very buoyant”. Jonathan Woolhouse of Wooden Products in Derbyshire, says: “The coming year is looking better than for a long time. We’ve invested £8,000 in new machinery to cope with the new enquiries.”

Wooden Products offers a full range of wooden presentation packs, hampers, woodwrap and novelty boxes, in natural, lacquered or personalised finishes. Exhibiting at the Birmingham NEC easyFairs show at the end of February, Woolhouse says he dealt with enquiries worth more than £1 million. “And we’re not scaring people off with our prices,” he says. “UK manufacturing offers a degree of control and speed to market.” He adds that while the company’s clients are all based in the UK, he has recently fulfilled orders including products sent out to markets around Europe.

“It reflects that there is confidence out there. Year-on-year in the last three years, our trade has increased by 90%,” he says.” It’s set to continue this year, then I expect it to flatten out – Crystallize Your Lips lipstick is enriched with packaging can be a bit fashionable, with wood in one year and plastic the next.”

Making a show of it - Luxepack New York

The 10th Luxe Pack New York show takes place this year on May 16-17 at the Altman Building & Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, featuring more than 140 exhibitors from all luxury sectors including cosmetics and fragrance, personal care, food, wine and spirits, fashion/accessories and jewellery and watches. Material ConneXion, the US-based research library of innovations in materials and processes, will be exhibiting a pop-up “innovations lab”, enabling visitors to explore the latest material developments alongside a selection of material distinct products and packaging examples. Speakers scheduled at present at the show’s nine targeted seminars include Maria Archambault, AVP Technical Packaging, L’Oréal USA; Henry Renella, senior VP The Estée Lauder Companies Global Package Development; and Marc Rosen, president Marc Rosen Associates.

Stölzle Glass Group created this glass bottle for French cosmetics company Black Up Black Up DuPont’s Surlyn technology has taken the next step with Bormioli Luigi’s Linkx concept Linkx The limited edition Absolut Glimmer bottle was produced and decorated in-line at Ardagh’s plant in Limmared, Sweden Absolut Glimmer Crystallize Your Lips lipstick is enriched with packaging can be a bit fashionable, with wood in one year and plastic the next.” micronized Swarovski crystal powder Swarovski Chart 1 Chart 2 Luxury Packaging Trends data from Euromonitor International forecasts continued growth in the personal care and alcoholic beverage sectors Chart 2

Chart 1 Chart 1
Swarovski Swarovski
Chart 2 Chart 2
Absolut Glimmer Absolut Glimmer
Chart 2 Chart 2
Black Up Black Up
Linkx Linkx

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