Will packaging soon be nothing more than a bad memory in the cosmetics sector? There is every reason to believe this as numerous initiatives in the industry and consumer enthusiasm for bulk and refill suggest the days of plastic in the sector are coming to an end.
The return of solid cosmetics has become the main vanguard in the beauty industry’s fight against plastic waste. Liquid refills, which reduce the need to buy more receptacles, are also slowly but surely becoming part of consumers' purchasing habits and behaviours.
According to figures released by the NPD Group, sales of refills and refillable selective beauty products saw a 50% increase between January and October 2022 in France, demonstrating the public's willingness to quickly switch to zero-waste bathrooms.
"The performance achieved by refills and refillable products in the selective beauty market bodes very well, not only for brands and retailers but also for the environment,” Mathilde Lion, Beauty Expert Europe at NPD Group, told RTBF. “As consumers become more and more aware of sustainability issues and the influence they exert, we are logically seeing an increase in sales of selective refillable beauty products."
While hygiene products and skin care products are gradually adopting the refill format, it is the introduction of refillable perfumes that are expected to become the latest trend. In France, refills and rechargeable perfume products represent 8% of sales in France against 6% in Europe and 3% in North America.
Sales of refillable perfume bottles showed an increase of 56% in October 2022, compared to the same month in 2021, and represent no less than 6% of the total perfume market.
More surprisingly, refills and refillable products are also booming in the makeup category. Mascara, foundation and even eye shadows are now available, although still very rare, in rechargeable version.
Sales jumped 122% in the first ten months of the year compared to the same period a year earlier.
If they still represent only 2% of the overall high-end makeup market, refills and rechargeable make-up products could take advantage of this dynamic to develop at high speed.
Skincare is not to be left behind with refill sales up 46% between January and the end of October 2022. However, it currently represents only 1% of total sales of high-end skincare products.