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What customers want in personal packaging

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Rethinking Your Personal Care Flexible Packaging as Consumer Habits Change

It’s obvious that the pandemic changed consumer shopping habits, but you might be surprised at how significant that change has been for personal care products.

The personal care and cosmetics market grew at a rate of around 7.5% in 2020 because of the increased awareness related to personal grooming. Much of that growth is coming from online purchases. Rather than physically going to stores, more and more people are buying more personal care products — including hair accessories, cosmetics, nail accessories and fragrances — online.

Increasingly, consumers are also looking for products in more convenient packages, specifically pouches. Shoppers want pouches because they like how easy it is to open, store, and reseal. They also appreciate how recyclable pouches are. For brands, pouches offer a lot of shelf appeal, giving shoppers a glimpse of what’s inside before they make their purchase.

As consumer purchasing habits change, it may be time to reevaluate your personal care packaging to better align with consumer expectations.

Increased Demand for Personal Care Products

In 2020, the home health care and personal care categories grew substantially. As salons, nail parlors and other health and beauty-related businesses closed their doors during the lockdown, shoppers turned to health and wellness and self-care products to recreate that experience at home.

This transition sent demand for health and wellness and self-care products soaring, especially online. First aid, hair and cosmetic accessories were some of the highest-selling nonedible e-commerce categories in 2020.

The shift to buying personal care items online is forcing brands to reconsider their packaging. Packaging that was designed to sit on a store shelf simply doesn’t have the same function or appeal when it arrives in a cardboard box at your front door.

For example, products that come packaged in hard-shell plastic — initially designed to reduce in-store theft — are hard to repackage for return. Moving away from hard-shell plastic to other packaging alternatives, such as a flexible pouch, can help brands be more efficient.

Increased Focus on Sustainability

65% of consumers want to have a positive impact on the environment. Shoppers — especially online shoppers — are demanding changes in the size of packaging as well as the package’s recyclability.

Sustainability is a priority for consumers, and they’re looking for packaging that’s suitable for recycling and able to be quickly separated.

Consumers perceive plastic films made from renewable, compostable materials, flexible paper and fully recyclable plastic films to be some of the most sustainable types of packaging.

Growing Demand for Pouching

Every year, consumers are looking for products that come packaged in pouches. Consumers see pouches as easy to reseal, easy to store, easy to open, reusable, easy to carry and recyclable.

Today’s shoppers are constantly on the go, and pouches offer a lighter, more portable option than traditional hard-shell packaging. Pouches can incorporate different types of features, too, including zippers, handles and spouts to make it even easier for consumers to carry them around.

Consumers aren’t the only ones demanding more pouches. Brands are launching new products and reimagining legacy ones in pouches because they’re easier to transport and take up significantly less space in warehouses than rigid packaging.

The savings don’t stop there. Pouches required about 50% less energy and generate less CO2 emissions during production, and they produce less landfill waste and use approximately 60 percent less plastic than rigid plastic bottles.

Shifting Your Personal Care Packaging to Pouching

Pouching could be the flexible packaging solution that gives your consumers the conveniences they’re looking for while helping you meet your sustainability goals.

Are you ready to make the switch to more sustainable personal care packaging? Sonoco can help. Learn more about our EnviroFlex line of flexible, more sustainable flexible packaging and how we can help you make the switch.


Contact us at Tell us more about your product and packaging, and we can provide specific answers to your unique needs.

Check out Sonoco Flexible Packaging if you would like to learn more about our offerings.