In an uncertain context, marked by rising concerns, from climate change and global conflicts, to resource shortages and the rising cost of living, consumers adapt their mindset. And the trends now emerging reflect these changes.

Trend 1: Made for me

The world is changing, and so are we. We are becoming ‘Generation Flex’ with no fixed identity.

This radical changeability demands ultra-personalisation. Artificial intelligence (AI) is thus presenting all kinds of opportunities for beauty brands, from digital diagnostic tools and virtual fragrances, to in-game launches. Shops become experiential spaces, for trying out products you then buy online. Brands connect with their target in new, memorable ways, with pop-up stores, festival events, podcasts and influencer involvement.

As far as packaging is concerned, this trend requires to deliver memorable and mindful experiences. Above all, it should appeal to the senses.

Trend 2: Blue

The ocean is the inspiration for more of a movement than a trend: blue beauty. It is widely recognized that oceans are essential for life on Earth.

Brands try to participate in the ocean protection move and marine-derived ingredients are becoming increasingly popular. Formulas that are free from micro-plastics and biodegradable are preferred.

In this context, the packaging, if it contains plastic, must also be free of microplastics and preferably recycled. Quadpack also suggests marine-themed decoration, a blue and green reflective colour palette, water-like finishes or ‘way-out-there’ textures like seapunk neoprene or ‘mermaid’ scales.

Trend 3: Quiet beauty

As consumers prioritise wellness, overconsumption is rejected and we see a return to basics. Quiet beauty emphasises simplicity and efficacy. Less becomes more. When making purchasing decisions, consumers ask themselves, “Do I really need it?” and “Do I really need a new one?” Nevertheless, they are willing to pay more for quality.

This trend requires packaging solutions able to protect high-performing products and natural ingredients with airtight designs or airless technology. Reuseable formats, offer great value for money, are also part of this mindset. According to Quadpack, noble materials like ceramic and wood fit well here. “The look-and-feel is one of timeless elegance, a kind of artisanal aesthetic, with minimalist lines.

Trend 4: Oasis in dystopia

In a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world, young consumers are working towards a ‘protopian’ future, where life continues to improve a little every day. Consumer pressure and brands’ own sustainability goals are driving companies to improve their impact.

In such a context, packaging opt for new materials: biocomposites like Sulapac, recycled plastics, wood, aluminium, leather, cement, terracotta, cork and so on. As far as decoration is concerned, Quadpack says this trend demands a moody, dusky look with organic, but also brutalistic shapes. Metallic finishes and materials can help add that futuristic touch.

Trend 5: Looking for eternity

As we live longer (the 60+ population will nearly double by 2050), the way we age is becoming more important. The focus is on prevention rather than cure, with holistic health and beauty routines.

In parallel, our constant digital presence in video conferences, selfies and social media have given rise to a wide array of non-invasive aesthetic therapies and ‘tweakments’, from cryotherapy to needle-free fillers. 2024 will see the big brands joining the niche brands who kicked off the trend.

Depending on the formula, packaging can be designed to help deliver on the claim, for example, by mixing actives with serum in a two-in-one pack or by adding a cold-touch applicator. Mini vials will offer effective solutions for mono doses. “Aesthetics are pure, clean and laboratory inspired, while new creative concepts for nutri-cosmetics containers may, in turn, transform the look of the traditional ‘pill jar’,” highlights Quadpack.

It’s all about being hopeful for the future. Beauty brands are adapting to the new reality and packaging has a crucial part to play. As soon as you see it or touch it, you begin a relationship with the product and the brand,” concludes Marcia Bardauil, Quadpack’s Marketing Lead.