At PLZ Personal Care, we’ve kicked off the new year with clear direction and tons of optimism, looking ahead to further our customers’ evolution and growth in today’s changing personal care market. The world has been off its axis for a couple of years now and even so, as (dare we say) things begin to settle down, we can look at where we are today and know that throughout the ups and downs of 2020-2022, PLZ Personal Care’s business succeeded and expanded – along with many of the brands that we support.
For such customers, accomplishing this success meant constantly following new research, finding evidence of its relevance to their products, and adjusting their sails to meet the changing needs of a transformative customer base. The most tenacious brands flexed and evolved to align with shifting consumer attitudes and preferences and to work around disrupted supply chains.
While we don’t have a crystal ball for the year ahead, we read the research too, and we listen to our customers’ input at a strategic level, so that we can help them to innovate based on what the consumer wants. Here are some clear markers and trends we are watching and ready to help you address for what lies ahead in personal care product development in 2023:
- Quality over quantity.
Emerging from a few years of uncertainty, many companies are launching fewer, more targeted new products with clearer purpose. Supply chain challenges are top-of-mind and weigh heavily on new product development because of material availability and pricing fluctuations. Brands will be more judicious in their offerings to ensure steady supply of the ingredients they need. Moreover, they’ll focus on micro groups, looking for certain types of product attributes that meet their personal needs and wants (e.g., formulated for curly hair, etc.)
- “Clean” beauty.
Cosmetic and beauty products are expected to be “clean” nowadays – this has become a set point, not a differentiator. But the word “clean” means different things to different people. It is used to describe a variety of consumer values; organic, free trade, vegan, all natural, water soluble, recyclable packaging, and more. Some even consider “clean” products in the context of corporate responsibility – for example, more consumers expect cruelty-free product testing and development practices, socially equitable company policies, and fair employment. These qualities are a significant part of modern businesses’ sustainability obligations, and consumers and investors are paying attention.
Along with increasingly sophisticated ideas about sustainability come heightened awareness and skepticism. It’s not enough to say your product is clean – consumers want to know how and why that is true. In other words, be specific, and be real. “Greenwashing” is unacceptable. People are much more inclined to read the fine print today (so, let’s get this stuff out of the fine print and make it obvious). Use packaging to support and declare the qualities that make your product special. Make robust product information available to the consumer, as well, on the label and beyond: a QR code can be used to provide instant access, with a simple smartphone scan, to details on the web for even greater, ongoing consumer engagement.
- Health and Safety.
Since the pandemic, consumers are far more likely to scrutinize product labels and claims, looking not just for specific attributes, but also, in line with clean product expectations, for safety information. Health effects like aromatherapy, relaxation, and mental acuity are sought-after product attributes. Transparency is key here as well – be forthright about the ingredients you use, your manufacturing practices, etc. Choose recognizable ingredients and provide detailed information about them on the package. Don’t exaggerate but do highlight verifiable advantages.
Product claims must be meaningful to consumers – in addition to clearly specified. As people become more conscious of their product choices, they notice inevitable tradeoffs. Efficacy is still important, although some will sacrifice a little for the sake of sustainability or other personal values. Aim for balance, here, to maintain your hard-earned brand identity.
In closing, despite industry-wide challenges, PLZ Personal Care’s focus on building a strong, growth-oriented business has not only allowed us to better serve customer needs, but it has also made us the partner of choice for many brands. We enjoy helping our customers crush new challenges, reinvent themselves and their brands, develop new products to meet each moment, and grow through the entire process.
In 2023 and beyond, we’ll remain true to this purpose and continue doing what we do best – creating and fine-tuning product formulations to meet specific criteria, to freshen personal care brands, and to help our customers stay ahead of emerging trends. We will do all these things and more to help you deliver innovative, high-quality personal care and beauty products uniquely formulated to fit your brand, fulfill your customers’ wishes, and fly off the shelves.