Seven packaging key trends for 2020, by ADF&PCD Awards



Winners and entrants in the ADF&PCD Awards 2020 shone a light on some of the trends that are defining the packaging industry this year.

Here, we reveal the seven key trends behind the winning packs.


3D Printing

Since’s Chanel’s industrialization of 3D printing for mascara brushes in partnership with Erpro just over a year ago, the technology is gaining traction, allowing the creation of designs that were not possible with existing technologies and pitted as opening up new avenues for personalization.

Chanel is once again using the technology for the launch of Eye de Chanel, a service offered in its boutiques that allows the consumer to take home a tailored combination of 3D-printed brush and formula after a consultation.



L’Oréal, meanwhile, used 3D printing to create the décor for its limited-edition Jasmins Marzipane fragrance bottle from Lancôme, using metal powders to print the delicate trellis-like design, the finesse of which would not have been possible using existing processes.


Refillable Solutions

Brands, especially in the luxury space, are now incorporating a broader than ever array of refillable solutions to encourage consumer adoption. This year’s nominees included several new devices for refilling a fragrance bottle in store through its existing pump—both Chanel, for its five best-selling scents, and Lancôme for new fragrance Idôle, presented machines in this category.



Other developments like Azzaro’s Wanted Girl were designed with a screw cap to potentially implement refilling down the line if the product is a commercial success.

Meanwhile, L’Occitane’s system for refilling its best-selling shower gels was inspired by dispensing systems in food retail. As well as improving the sustainability credentials of packaging, such solutions can be used to create muchneeded animation in store by offering a personalized service, educating consumers on sustainability and increasing personal interaction with the beauty advisor.

Other refillable solutions were seen by way of YSL’s Serum Reboot and Armani’s Designer Lift cushion foundation, both of which focus on the value of the outer packaging to prolong use.


Technology transfer

Transferring technology from other industries has always been a source of innovation for beauty packaging players, and this year’s nominees for the ADF&PCD Paris Awards were no exception.



This was seen with the use of a redesigned mascara brush for L’Oréal Paris’ Magic Retouch Précision hair make-up, and the development of a distinctive stone-effect cap for the Chloé Atelier des Fleurs fragrance.


E-commerce solutions

With e-commerce front-and-center in industry players’ strategies, solutions that offer heightened security and simplified logistics are a growing area of focus. This is driven in part by initiatives implemented by online giant Amazon to force brands to use less packaging and simplify the logistics process.

PCD Awards nominee Maybelline’s advent calendar, which removes the need for a secondary packaging layer before shipment, was designed especially for e-commerce, and is reportedly the first to receive Amazon’s SIOC certification. Up for an ADF Award, meanwhile, Coster’s NSCP ISTA 6 pump is designed to be more robust than existing solutions, removing the need for extra outer packaging during shipping.


Upscaling and differentiation in fragrance

Offering differentiated concepts and higher perceived value was a key feature among the nominees for the PCD Awards, with women’s fragrance gathering 11 nominees this year, making it by far the largest—and therefore most competitive—category for the PCD Awards.

From Lancôme’s Idôle, with its smartphone-shaped glass bottle that at 15mm is the thinnest ever produced, and Carolina Herrera’s Bad Boy, with its thunderbolt shaped design, to Paco Rabanne’s genderless Pacollection with its distinctive and disruptive tactile plastic pouches, there were a multitude of developments. Other developments involved technical complexity, with in some cases a significant number of parts and the collaboration of many different suppliers and production steps.



Also of note was a move towards finding alternative solutions to zamak, criticized for its environmental footprint despite its aesthetic properties.


Simplified gestures

Several developments stood out for their ambition to simplify consumer routines. L’Oréal Paris’ Magic Retouch Précision hair make-up, for example, integrates a mascara brush to allow consumers to touch up gray hairs quickly and easily, while Bourjois’ One Second Eyeshadow, with its innovative sponge applicator, allows the creation of a smoky eye in an instant.

Among the nominees for the ADF Awards, there were several one-handed distribution systems, including Actuo from Polish supplier Aerosol Service, and Kao’s Bioré U Foam Stamp Hand Wash, designed for children and delivering a flower-shaped dose of soap foam.



Also from Kao, the Cape hair spray has an ergonomically shaped nozzle that reduces the amount of pressure needed and makes the direction of the spray instinctive, while the Japanese firm’s Attack Zero laundry detergent has a pump bottle to allow consumers to easily dose the product without mess.


Lightweight, bio-materials, PCR & recyclability

The trend for more lightweight packaging solutions—especially in high-volume personal-care categories—that has resulted in improved sustainability credentials, lower costs and optimized logistics, continued to be visible among this year’s nominees for both the PCD and ADF Awards.




Several developments from L’Oréal, LVMH-owned Sephora’s new skincare line and new innovations from Tubex were among the nominees. Increasingly, this trend is being combined with the integration of PCR and bio-sourced plastics, which certain brands — including Coty’s new haircare brand WeDO—champion on the packaging itself as well as turning the aesthetic constraints of recycled materials into a design feature. Players’ prioritization of mono-material packaging to improve recyclability, where the use of PCR solutions is not yet possible, was also in evidence.


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