Experts claimed that other geographical regions including the Americas and Asia do not yet have the know-how and tradition to compete with the top European cosmetics packaging companies.
At the conference, Dr Ulrich Nebe, the ex-CEO of Heinz Glas, commented on the continuing dominance of European companies in luxury cosmetics: “European companies have spent centuries in this business.”
“We have a tradition of glass-making, with generations of glass-making in their families- father, grandfather and grandson. At the moment, this skill has had no possibilities to transfer to other continents.”
Oliver Eschbaumer, marketing manager at Edelmann, stated: “The EU is a synonym for luxury packaging. Germany is known for high end-packaging thanks to our advanced technique and engineering.”
“People usually do not go to Asia and America in order to buy products from the luxury end of the range. However, we are now producing more products in India as well using German know-how.”
Other European companies concurred, with Christian Maassen, Director of Marketing at Seidel, commenting to CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com: “Packaging is not as important as it should be. Lots of companies are packaging their products in cheaply made wrappings from the Far East. They use packaging made without any sustainability at all.”
Development potential in Asia?
However, some companies have reacted strongly to the stereotype of unsophisticated Asian packaging. Spokespeople from Pacific Glas, a leading luxury glass packaging supplier, commented that the Korean luxury industry in particular had strong potential for development.
Paul An, a sales team manager for the company, told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com: “The Asian packaging industry has existed for 40 years. Even if the history is not as long as the European industry, we have developed the technology for luxury glass forming.”
”I think that European companies are leading the packaging market until now, but in the picture I can say that the Asian packaging companies are trying to enter the premium market as they develop the technology to follow the trend of the market, and I would say Korean packaging companies are especially strong.”
Luxury packaging in China is also being boosted by a gift-giving culture and increased disposable income, according to a Euromonitor report from 2011.
Pacific Glas has recently developed a number of innovative new luxury packaging products, including digital printing which uses laser technology to create layers of different colors inside glass jars and bottles.
They have also developed the ‘Last Drop’ packaging, which contains a cavity which allows all of the liquid in a bottle or jar to be used by a customer.
However, these new technologies are limited to high-end beauty lines, since packaging with digital printing can cost as much as 10 times the price of a conventional product.