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Evolving shopping habits of consumers has led to the steady rise in e-commerce. Over the last two years, however, as consumers who previously had little or no engagement with online shopping were forced into new behaviours, the adoption of e-commerce accelerated beyond all expectations, with many of those who have embraced online shopping not wishing to turn back.

This has been particularity notable for essential items across food and beverage, homecare, personal care and the beauty sectors, putting a spotlight back on the customer journey and questioning perhaps the traditional role of packaging as a direct means for brands to have the ‘all-important’ shelf presence and communicate their stories to consumers.

The way in which consumers search for items online has evolved too; from visual search commerce to voice command, and Direct to Consumer (D2C) email-enabled commerce. Brands are responding to this shift in consumer behaviour by enabling customers to access their products in multiple ways, with better omnichannel alignment and more joined-up brand experience.

Discoverability in online shopping

Despite the convenience and sheer variety that online shopping offers, consumers are losing the element of discovery – the experience of scouring the shelves for their usual product or brand, only to be enticed by the attractive packaging of another; or being persuaded to try something new through a strategically placed offer. E-commerce sites go some way in recreating an element discoverability, such as the ‘Before you go’ suggestions and even through some of the more unusual product substitutes offered in online supermarkets. However, the repetitious scrolling nature of online shopping means that consumers lose attention quicker than when being faced by a physical wall of products. Shopping is, after all, a three-dimensional, multisensory experience!

This poses an opportunity for e-commerce sites and brands selling direct to consumers to rethink the browsing experience for online shoppers. Could consumers select their ‘shopping mode’ based on their rational or emotional needs, for example: ‘convenience shopping’ (direct and fast) versus ‘browse shopping’ (serendipitous)?

Packaging for cookies

Shifting role of primary packaging

If FMCG brands are potentially competing for customer’s attention through online means rather than on the shelves, is there an opportunity to redefine the role of primary packaging? What if brands in the supermarket no longer needed to consider labelling and size restrictions on packaging due to shelf height, and took a far more stripped-back approach to their primary packaging? What if they were to remove the bold, attention-grabbing colours and graphics they are known for, saving that for their online communication, and redirect their focus on packaging solutions that are minimal, more sustainable, and potentially more cost effective?

Conversely, what if the role of primary packaging for ecommerce was focused solely on protection, distribution, and low environmental impact? What would this mean for the customer experience if they received their McVitie’s biscuits or Fairy Liquid in unembellished packaging in their weekly food delivery? How could brands still retain a visual presence in their customers’ homes? There is certainly an opportunity for brands to explore a refill-offering that is optimised for e-commerce; balancing low-impact primary packaging solutions with branded reusable containers that hold meaning as well as longevity for customers.

A woman unboxing her delivery parcel.

Embracing the double unboxing experience

With more and more FMCG products being delivered to consumers doorsteps, premium brands should consider how they could make a lasting impression when selling direct to their consumers, by aligning the unboxing experience of secondary and primary packaging with their overall brand essence. While the functional needs of secondary packaging are paramount – strength, protection, lightweight, material reduction, easily recyclable, frustration-free – the inside of that packaging is valuable brand ‘real estate’, an opportunity to create little ‘wow’ moments for customers.

Customisation through e-commerce spans beyond the product itself and brands should also explore how the e-commerce personalisation experience can expand into physical touchpoints. Imagine a customer ordering their premium skincare products online and opening the brown cardboard postage box to discover a customised graphic or message to them on the inside. Or could brands take inspiration from AI-personalised shopping experiences online, and print bespoke product suggestions and promotions based on a customer’s purchasing and search history on the inside of the secondary packaging, to align physical touchpoints with the digital experience?

Discover, connect, conceive, deliver

So where should brands start? The most effective way to understand consumer behaviour and where it’s heading in the future is to take a ‘Zoom-in, Zoom-out’ approach to product and service development. Before going forward, brands must pause and really understand and analyse their current customer experience journey across various channels and customer touch points. What are the moments of delight for customers? What are the pain points? Crucially, where are the opportunities to align the digital and physical to create a more connected experience?

At PDD, our multidisciplinary team combines Human-Centred Design methodologies (Zoom-in) to gain a deep understanding of consumers, their unmet needs, desires, and challenges; along with Design Insight (Zoom-out), to uncover the broader consumer, market, design, and technology trends. By combining these deep and broad perspectives, we help consumer brands drive innovation from ideation through to product and service development, ensuring all decisions are grounded in real and tangible insights.

If you would like to know more about how we can help you create an even more compelling consumer experience, please get in touch!

We are excited to announce that Charles Ingrey-Senn has been appointed Principal of Design Innovation Asia at PDD. This is a key appointment, supporting growth and development of PDD as a leading global consultancy.

An experienced British designer, Charles has been based in China since 2006. Prior to joining PDD, Charles founded and ran his own industrial design consultancy for six years and also held the position of Creative Director in the Shanghai and Taipei offices of a Swiss branding agency. Charles brings with him a wealth of experience of working across industry. His ability to identify and highlight client and user needs whilst bridging the gap that translates and guides solutions within design and innovation teams is exceptional.

Charles’ main focus will be in the China and Asia FMCG sector. We are delighted to have Charles on board, with his experience, drive and ambition as part of our design and leadership team.

PDD’s Marketing Executive, Susie Quddus (SQ) has the pleasure of interviewing our new Principal of Design Innovation Asia, Charles Ingrey-Senn (CIS) about his exciting role at PDD Shanghai and the latest FMCG trends in China.

SQ. Firstly a big welcome to the team.

CIS. Thank you, I’m happy to be part of it!

Describe your role?

I think it’s best to say it’s rather multi-faceted. On a day to day basis I can be working with clients helping to formulate their concerns and ideas into briefs, to running projects and guiding teams across our three global offices. From a wider perspective, PDD has strong plans for development in China and South East Asia and I’m at the forefront of helping to guide that process and drive that success.

What’s the favourite part of your job?

With my background as a designer, it would be very easy to say that seeing the results of our work in the market would be a highlight. Although, to be honest, achieving success at all points of a project; from seeing the satisfaction of team members, to delivering beyond client expectations and the many in between… It all combines to a singular feeling of success. That is what drives me and is probably my favourite part of the job.

Where do you see the biggest potential for FMCG companies when targeting markets in China?

As the world’s largest and fastest growing E-commerce market, China is projected to see continued growth in this area in the near future as the uptake of online shopping by consumers in lower-tier cities increases. While sectors such as clothing and electronics are relatively mature in China’s E-commerce, other sectors such as FMCG are gaining popularity and showing signs of being the ‘next big area for growth’. I believe brands operating within this space are eager to find more innovative ways of leveraging ‘digital’ to appeal to the heart and minds of consumers.

Buying products online, whether reordering familiar products or searching for something completely new and different, consumers are now viewing and ‘interacting’ with photos of products rather than the actual physical product itself. As a consequence, some sensory cues experienced through instore purchases that often influence a consumer’s purchasing decision have been stripped away; think of how scent is used in the packaging of laundry products to convey the fragrance sealed within; or how the tactile qualities of different packaging materials are used in personal care and cosmetics to communicate a sense of quality or luxury.

In the absence of certain sensory cues such as smell and touch, what else could be amplified to communicate a message to consumers?

We need to start thinking about how the use of colour, the size and layout of graphics, packaging shape and material finish and texture can be optimised to enhance your message when a photo is potentially a consumers’ first touch point with your brand.

In this increasingly competitive space, brands that take a fresh approach to packaging, designing for both online and offline consumption, will be those that capture the attention of existing customers and those new to online shopping.

With even more brand and product variation available to consumers online, sometimes it is just as much about what is subtracted rather than what is added to stand out from the crowd.

Finally, what FMCG product can you not live without?

Trick question – Water! For those knowing a little about the UK, I’ll say Marmite.

If you would like to find out more about how PDD can drive innovation within your company contact Charles on:

t. +86 21 5265 6990

Continued global interest in East Asian skincare and beauty regimes has boosted the development of new products, and leading the way is South Korean cosmetics company, AmorePacific (named by Forbes magazine as the world’s 28th most innovative company). The company’s Air Cushion technology has helped AmorePacific become South Korea’s top facial makeup brand. Since its launch in 2008, more than 50 million Air Cushion compacts have been sold, and in July this year AmorePacific signed a deal with Parfums Christian Dior to share the technology.

Image credit: amorepacific via tumblr

In the meantime, L’Oréal’s brand, Lancôme, has already launched its Miracle Cushion foundation in Western markets. Clearly, the expectation is that air cushion cosmetics will also become a must-have item for Caucasian women. This is due to ‘Asian-ifcation’ (Asia’s increasing influence on innovation in beauty), the trend for fresh-faced, no make-up-make-up and the growing importance of a clean and healthy skin base as a prerequisite to beautiful skin – something Korean women have long been obsessed with. In their quest for the skin of their dreams – generally equated to a baby-smooth complexion with a dewy glow (known as ‘mul-kwang-pi-bu’) – Korean women tend to follow a 10-step skincare regime. Moreover, they reportedly spend seven times more money on beauty products than Americans. As a result, cosmetics companies in the region are constantly striving to up their game, continually investing in skincare innovation and introducing new ‘game-changing’ products into the market. Here are a few South Korean gadgets which may just turn out to be the next-big-thing in beauty the world over.

Image credit:, Global Market Korea


Electronic application devices

The MakeON Makeup Enhancer comes with three types of applicator heads. The ceramic massager is designed to boost skin circulation and may be used before makeup application to enable better absorption ofeffective skincare ingredients’. It may also be used on cleansed skin before bedtime to promote a glowing complexion the following day. The aircell and skincell puffs are for optimal application of liquid foundation.

DIY Face Masks

Huge in South Korea, the face mask trend is also catching on in the Western world. The sheer range of mask products on offer is literally too vast to mention. So I won’t. (But here’s a link to over 2,450).

So what’s new in masking? Apparently, it’s DIY kits. A prototype of a mask making machine piqued the interest of a beauty blogger at the International Expo Korea this month. Much like an ordinary fruit juicer, the idea is that users can whizz up their own customised hydrating masks containing fruits and/or veggies of their choice. Beauty oils, serums and essences may also be thrown into the mix, along with a dose of water and a tablet-type thickening agent. The machine then takes just five minutes to produce a ready-to-wear mask. Once applied to the face, the hydrogel mask is absorbed into the skin and any juicy leftovers can be dissolved in water to create a fragrant spritz. Bonus!

Image credit:

Men’s Skincare

Kim Nan-hee, the vice-president of product strategy at AmorePacific, was quoted as saying “Male skincare is not yet our main market, but it is the fastest growing sector that we cannot miss.”

According to market research company, Euromonitor, South Korean men spend the most per head in the world on skincare, and the country leads the premium men’s skincare market.  Cosmetic companies are also targeting the premium sector with home devices designed to address male skincare concerns.

Image credit:

Korean brand Tony Moly has recently launched two beauty tools under it’s Expert Lab line. Aimed at discerning male consumers looking for professional grade results, the devices are described as providing “deep penetration of topical skincare products to make for skin that looks like you just took a trip to the aesthetician.”

The Expert Lab Dual Ion Peel And Filler uses LED technology to improve facial skin elasticity and removal of dead skin cells.

The Expert Lab Relaxing Line Shaper is a face & body massager that purports to make skin healthy and slim through the lymph circulation and meridian effect.

Of course, there are no guarantees that products that have proved popular in South Korea or East Asia will take off in other parts of the world. (Remember snail slime face cream anyone?)

That said, any non-invasive, pain-free product that can deliver beautiful skin gets my vote.

Star Wars. You either love it or – like some of us at PDD – you’ve never watched it. (No, not even one of them. Yes, we know Star Wars is a classic – shame on us). I am aware, however, that Episode 7, the next instalment of the global sci-fi phenomenon, is due for release in December this year and a bunch of Star Wars-themed products will soon be coming to a store near you.

The beauty industry is also getting involved. US cosmetics brand Cover Girl and sister brand Max Factor have just released a collection of make-up products, including black mascara in limited edition tubes inscribed with well-known Star Wars quotes. Clearly aimed at collectors and die-hard fans, the range features metallic lip and nail shades but nothing by way of ‘smart’ or space-age technology. An opportunity missed maybe?

In a world where everything from socks and toothbrushes to toys and tattoos are being created ‘smart’, several beauty and tech brands have got on board with clever treatments and devices designed to help customers get picture-perfect skin. Here are just a few:


The Futuristic Therapy Mask

Image credit: Aesthetic Beauty

Somewhat less Stormtrooper and more ice hockey mask as sported by the scary guy in the Friday the 13th horror movies (Google ‘Jason Voorhees’) the DEESSE Spectrum Mask is an LED light-laden facial rejuvenation product.

Red lights are used to stimulate collagen and break up hyper-pigmentation, while blue lights treat acne and reduce inflammation. Red and blue lights together work to increase blood flow and accelerate wound healing. Hailing from Korea, this mask treatment is typically offered and administered by professional beauticians but is also available for home use. At close to $3,000, the LED mask is not the cheapest light therapy option on the market but could, nevertheless, double up as a Halloween party prop.


The Smart Mask

Image credit: Shiseido

HAKU I-DEVICE by Shiseido is a face mask powered by an iPhone app. Sold only in Japan, the device consists of a pre-treated moisturising mask that is activated by a gentle electrical current.


The Cube Skin Coach

Image credit: Oku

Placed directly on the face, the Oku really gets up close and personal with your skin. The cubic device employs sensors that ‘see through’ layers of skin to deliver a numerical SkinScore™ comprised of details that include: moisture levels, oil content, texture, wrinkles, elasticity and pigmentation. The data is sent to your iPhone and in addition to providing recommendations for achieving better looking skin, including tips on lifestyle and diet, OKU also suggests beauty products best suited to your skin’s needs.


The Skin Activity Tracker

Image credit: WAY

Exceeding its crowdfunding target by almost 2.5 times, WAY has been described as a beauty-industry game-changer. A smart “personal skincare companion” the doughnut-shaped gadget pairs with an app on your smartphone to provide beauty advice on the go. Sensors in the device monitor data about the environment – UV and humidity levels – and combine this with skin-specific biometric stats to deliver practical personalised skincare tips. An example of this could be a reminder to reapply moisturiser.

One of the biggest trends in the beauty and personal care industry is for more personalised products. Smart skincare gadgets that provide customised feedback and product recommendations offer consumers unprecedented opportunity to monitor the effectiveness of their skincare and make more informed purchasing decisions. Armed with knowledge about the items that suit us best, we not only become savvier consumers but also get a step closer to becoming experts in our own skin. Hooray!

Clearly, the value of understanding which products really ‘work’ and for whom is not restricted to consumers alone. For cosmetic companies, access to data of this nature holds the potential to transform how products are developed and marketed in the future.

Colour-matching technology has helped take the guesswork out of nailing the exact shade of foundation to go with our skin. It seems now that the next step forward in achieving our healthiest best-looking skin lies in the power of intelligent devices and, as the OKU and WAY gadgets go to show, for truly bespoke skin counselling, we definitely should not be afraid to turn to the Smart Side. 🙂

After tracking sociocultural and technology trends influencing and shaping the kitchen landscape over the past 10 years, we wanted to share with you some key insights and opportunity areas that will impact food futures.

Two hot topics set to really influence consumers in the near future are nutrition and food production. We take a look at the intersection between these two areas, along with opportunities for innovation within this space.

Image credit: PDD


What’s happening…

Food scares and scandals, as well as consumer desire for ethical, fair trade and ‘supporting local’ is driving consumer interest in food provenance. Combined with the attitude of ‘the fresher the better’, consumers are demanding new products and services that brings them right to the heart of the process from ‘uber-local’ food production, through to ‘self-sourcing’ and ‘home harvesting’.

Up until now large scale producers and appliance manufacturers have responded in various ways; with an increased stocking of ‘nationally grown’ foods, packaging listing farm and breed names for vegetable and meat, through to better chilling compartments in domestic fridges aimed at locking in the goodness. But expect to see this take a leap further in the future with brands exploring new and innovative ways to bring consumers closer to nature, closer to nutrition and closer to production.


Examples of home appliances bringing consumers closer to nature

Image credit:

Self-sourcing: From farmer to consumer
Bonaverde coffee machine aims to revolutionize the world of home coffee brewing by enabling consumers to buy raw, green coffee beans direct from farmers around the world. Consumers can roast and grind the beans themselves at home before brewing them in this all-in-one machine.


Image credit:

Home harvesting: Tools to table
Fiskars KitchenGarden, featured at Ambiente 2014, expands its range by creating an indoor table-top garden system for growing herbs; extending its consumer experience to include domestic indoor growing alongside tools for cultivating and harvesting.


Image credit:

Uber-local: Micro-sustainable home ecosystem
Aqualibrium Garden is an aquaponic symbiotic system comprising of a series of chambers that function as both garden and aquarium. Water circulates from the fish tank below and up into the soil of the garden. Nutrients supplied from the fish, snails, or crayfish fertilize the soil to aid plant growth, with the plants in turn filtering the water, returning fresh back to the fish tank.


Where it’s going…

Interest in ‘urban agriculture’ will increase, with consumers turning to hyper-local sourcing and grass-roots living creating a demand for both tools and appliances that enable them to get closer to food in its natural state. Consider how your future products could bridge the gap between ‘production and table’, allowing consumers to reap the benefits both ethically and nutritionally.

We will see the emergence of more ‘closed loop ecosystems’ for the home, taking principles from large scale farming and manufacturing and scaling them down for the domestic kitchen. Consider how these systems could create a whole new category of large domestic appliances in the future, and how they would sit amongst other appliances.



Kitchen Futures – taking a glimpse into the future of home cooking through several trends spanning short to long term and looking at how social and cultural changes are affecting the way we cook.

I wish I hadn’t got up at 5:15 last Wednesday morning. Not that I’m complaining, but the multi-sensory experience I had signed up to attend later that day was a mind-altering event that was really worth being all there for…

Working in multidisciplinary teams isn’t new in the field of design and innovation. However, the bringing together of a creative team to explore the complete mind body sensation of colour is certainly news to my ears.

According to the website, The Waldorf Project: Chapter Two / Colour is “…an immersive experience…will unite the senses through food, scent, drink, movement, sound, and environment.” Except that it isn’t. In reality it is way more fun than that.

Conceived and directed by British artist Sean Rogg, this unique theatrical production is the result of over two years hard graft and imagination brought to life by a crew consisting of: a food designer, a choreographer, a production designer, a costume designer, a sommelier, and a sound designer.

Curious to find out what colour tastes like, I was excited to don an all-black outfit and make my way to The Oval Space in East London for a matinee preview of an event that promised all guests would experience what if feels like to eat, smell, hear and touch colour.

Upon arrival, I was a bit miffed to find that not all the guests had followed the monochrome only dress code. Tut. Still, never mind. After selecting a little coloured block (a choice between red, blue, orange and purple) we were escorted into the huge main space where we spent the next 3 hours moving through the various colour zones, having our senses overwhelmed, toyed and messed with –  in an altogether extraordinary but strangely wonderful way.

Designed to capture the look, sound, feel, taste and smell of its designated colour, each of the cube-shaped environments delivered a multi-sensory experience that was fuelled by a softly pulsating soundtrack that may (and I really am just guessing here) be described as ‘minimal’; choreographed dancers in white, architectural Issey Miyake inspired creations who silently ‘controlled’ the environment via their movements, gestures and eye contact, serving food consisting of a single cube, and fine wine in exquisite Waterford crystal tumblers.

While immersive food, drink, arty events aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, I would highly recommend The Waldorf Project Chapter Two / Colour to anyone who is interested in dining out. Like all good multi-sensory experiences, it certainly got me more than just thinking. And like all brilliant days out, you really had to be (all) there.

The Blue room aka The Fifth Element does Come Dine With Me

A dancer serving food cubes

Dessert(ish) food cubes see red

Feeling the blues

To create innovative beauty products and packaging, brands should look to other industries for inspiration and draw from their heritage. Maeve Keane and Sarita Wilkinson speak to Julia Wray.

In the article Maeve Keane, Principal of Design Insight tells SPC, “When it comes to design and innovation, cross-pollination is hugely important. The beauty industry is creating products for people whose lives aren’t soiled in the way organisations are.”

Consumer, market and design insights sit at the very heart of design and strategy, but how can you get the best out of these vital nuggets of information? How do you make them inviting and accessible for people to digest, liberating them from the depths of the server and to the heights of engagement?

While a lot of emphasis is placed on the set up of research, conducting good research and of course analysing and translating it; here at PDD we focus on communication as well as content, from snappy PowerPoints to short movies. We took some time out recently to explore alternative methods of communicating research insights, with the aim of creating a new tool that would both inform and inspire through a more immersive experience.

Above image credit: PDD Interactive Trends Map
Featured image credit: Intersection Consulting sourced from Flickr Creative Coms

Click here to see how our researchers and designers have translated their ideas and explorations into an Interactive Trends Map. For this Beta version we used the industry sector of ‘beauty’ to help illustrate our new communication tool.

Explore our Beauty Trends Map to see how culture impacts approaches to beauty around the world. From ‘Nip-tuck norm’ in Latin America to Western cosmetics brands tapping into the lucrative China market; you can discover some of the major happenings in the world of beauty and personal care through a series of regional insights, micro trends, global influences and product examples.

Creating this got us thinking about the key points for ‘information liberation’; we have compiled a list of the top 5 take outs for stripping back, layering up and engaging your audience from busy executives to information hungry designers…

  1. Distil, distil, distil – if you think it’s too much information, it probably is! Get to the essence of the insight and avoid wrapping it up in over-elaborate narratives.
  2. Avoid layout repetition – strike a balance between consistency and variation, create points of interaction for a more immersive experience.
  3. Layer information – think of the different audiences and their needs. From top level overviews for time starved executives, to content rich and inspiring information for designers and development teams.
  4. Make it visual – use images, product examples and info graphics to illustrate data and insights, a welcome break from text heavy information.
  5. Make it a tool – rather than just an information download. Consider how your audience will use it, workshop with it, extract content for their own presentations.

If you would like to know more about our Interactive Trends Map, or other capabilities at PDD please get in touch with us at:

t: +44 (0)20 8735 1111

A staggering £285 million was spent on Halloween related goods in the UK in 2012 and with the figure expected to reach £315 million in 2013, it definitely seems to be big business to create spooky themed products or services for this yearly event. Here’s a round-up of a few Halloween products that caught our eye!

Halloween has been celebrated in its current form since the Middle Ages, with the modern visuals of ghosts, gore and pumpkins appearing somewhere around 1900’s when children would dress up and go ‘trick or treating’. This historical background has been formed over the years into the modern context, which adorns almost every shop from late September every year.

Products range from simple re-branding, to creating new designs for the weeks leading up to the event, and of course all of the clothing and make up required for trick or treating. Luxury goods at Harrods and the many toys and sweets for children show it’s definitely a holiday for all ages and budgets!

Featured image credit: home.made. Above image credit: Le Creuset 

The classic Le Cruset casserole dish has been given a Halloween makeover that wouldn’t look out of place in the kitchen the rest of the year. Other than cooking up a Halloween meal, it adds a nice touch to any table at a Halloween party filled with sweets and treats.

Image credit: Lush Bath Bombs from jasmineblu.

Lush have created a selection of Halloween themed bath bombs, each with a fantasy/spooky touch to them. Unsurprisingly they decided against making the pumpkin actually smell like pumpkin, instead settling for an orange scent.

Image credit: Halloween Fanta can from Colecao de Latas.

Fanta have used the lurid-orange colour to their advantage, and changed their packaging to entice people into buying the drink for their Halloween parties. Soft drink volumes rose by 4% in the lead-up to the 31st October last year, showing that Halloween is a truly a sugary day! The bottle and cans also gives tips and ideas about what to do at a Halloween party, as well as some recipes for Fanta punches.

05_Google doodle 2012 Happy Halloween
Image credit: Google Doodle Halloween 2013.

The Google Doodle has almost become an event in itself, with many people anticipating what their homepage is going to look like when they first log on each day. Google’s Halloween effort for the last 2 years have really impressed, who knows what’s in store this year!

Image credit: Cadbury Creme Eggs from Ned.

Cadbury Creme Eggs, Heinz Beans, Spaghetti Hoops and Fondant Fancies have all been given a Halloween facelift to grab shopper’s attention, fighting for recognition on the shelves next to their competitors. Cadburys have done a particularly good job in moving away from their traditionally Easter egg themed product over the last few years with Screme Eggs filled with ‘green goo’.

Image credit: Laser carved pumpkins from SEATTLE FOOD GEEK

Within the next few years, Halloween may be moving into the future with affordable technology becoming more and more popular across the country. Laser carved pumpkins allow for intricate and stunning detail, the full method can be found here. In the future Halloween toys and decorations could be made at home with the help of a 3D printer potentially adding a new dimension and personal touch to trick or treating!

Image credit: 3D printed pumpkin from

With the sales of Halloween themed products growing every year we are seeing companies become even more creative with their celebratory interpretations as these examples illustrate. Are there any Halloween designs that have caught your eye this year? Let us know @pddinnovation! Happy Halloween from us all at PDD!

Changes in the emerging markets, shifts in global consumerism and our insatiable desire to look and feel our best makes the personal care sector a very interesting place to be. We have identified some key trends and themes that are impacting the way we’re going to buy and apply personal care products in the future.

Financial focus is fuelling the growth of personal care devices that are adding value to the home grooming experience

The global financial crisis has re-tuned the way consumers in the West are thinking about spending. Constant peripheral talk of budget cuts and losses have led to a huge decrease in consumer confidence. Impulsive spending habits have been replaced with considered and calculated purchasing decisions.

Indulgent spending (in the main) is generally being side-lined and consumers are looking for alternative ways of achieving their pre-recession personal care habits. For many, (women in particular) personal care and grooming is a non-negotiable activity with the purchasing of cosmetics and moisturising creams being prioritised alongside the weekly staples. Consumers are now moving away from costly professional treatments and investing in home solutions.

Featured image credit: L’oreal. Above image credit:

The last 18 months have seen a dramatic emergence of in-home personal care devices entering the market in multiple global regions. The Western approach views skin care and cleansing to be of a high priority, whereas more extreme beauty ideals in Asia prescribe the need for harsher, more cosmetic focused devices.

Although consumer cautiousness is on the increase, the desire for long-lasting, reliable and good quality home solutions is on the rise. This mind set is exemplified in other markets such as the coffee sector.

The recent rise in sales of premium coffees such as Lavazza and the explosion of Nespresso, where consumers still strive for the best coffee experience at home without paying Starbucks and Costa Coffee prices for the pleasure. As with coffee, consumers are focused on getting the same quality of performance and results from in-home personal care products as they would expect from the salon or spa.

Image credit: Lavazza

The personal care device market was worth an estimated $1 billion in 2011 and the global fascination with celebrity culture and outward appearance will continue to drive the trend for these in-home personal care and grooming experiences.

As consumers want more from their products how are traditional FMCG companies going to approach delivering personal care devices to ‘product aware’ consumers who are used to the high quality offerings from the likes of Apple, Sony and Nike in other areas of their life?  Where is the future of adding value for this sector and what can we learn from other sectors’ strategic models?

#PDDPersonalCare, @pddinnovation with your thoughts and opinions.

Read more…

Observations in Personal Care part 1: Adding Performance

Observations in Personal Care part 2: Focus on Heritage

Observations in Personal Care part 3: The Male Consumer

Changes in the emerging markets, shifts in global consumerism and our insatiable desire to look and feel our best makes the personal care sector a very interesting place to be. We have identified some key trends and themes that are impacting the way we’re going to buy and apply personal care products in the future.

Men are coming out of their shell, wanting to look and feel better about themselves

The macro trend for health and wellbeing has opened the door for male consumers, allowing men to be more focussed on their style and appearance than ever before. The ideals around beauty and personal care are shifting for men. Being focussed on appearance is no longer seen as only a feminine pursuit but is becoming tied into the more holistic perception of health and wellbeing.

The rulebook has been thrown out and men are feeling less pressured to start a family and settle down. In turn this means that their 20s are more relaxed and they have disposable income available to spend on indulgent items.

The men’s personal care market has grown significantly in the last 5-10 years with product ranges such as L’Oreal’s Men Expert and Nivea For Men being dominant players. Newer niche brands such as Prospector Co. in North America and Europe are using new marketing and packaging approaches to differentiate their position from the rest of the personal care market. Some of these brands are playing heavily into apothecary inspired Victoriana packaging, using history and heritage to attract the attention of male consumers. Pseudo-scientific products are giving men the affirmation of functionality by using medicalised visual codes (whiteness, simplicity and capitalised typography) in their packaging, which elevates the status of their products’ formulations and ingredients.

Featured image  credit: Prospector Co. Above image credit: The Grooming Guide

Male adoption of personal care products is at globally varying extremes. Skin whitening or skin fairing moisturisers are popular amongst men in Asia, and even lipstick for men is reported to be having a moment in India as Asian men are more likely to try new things when it comes to personal care. In the West things are changing too. Recently a UK study reported that men are becoming increasingly concerned with body image, transcending women when it comes to body image anxieties.

As men are tackling heightened sensitivity and burgeoning self-confidence issues, less focus is being placed upon need and more on experience and desire – allowing men to make themselves feel and look better.

The big question is how will brands adapt to this more sensitive and considered man in their marketing and product campaigns?

#PDDPersonalCare@pddinnovation with your thoughts and opinions.

Read more…

Observations in Personal Care part 1: Adding Performance

Observations in Personal Care part 2: Focus on Heritage

Observations in Personal Care part 4: Adding Value


Changes in the emerging markets, shifts in global consumerism and our insatiable desire to look and feel our best makes the personal care sector a very interesting place to be. We have identified some key trends and themes that are impacting the way we’re going to buy and apply personal care products in the future.

Brand anniversaries and heritage are being celebrated across all areas. Do products and services face a challenge in positioning themselves in such a way to gain consumer trust?

Last year saw the ‘anniversary’ playing a big role in brand marketing across many sectors. Arla’s Anchor Butter was 125 years old, VW Golf was 35 years old, Dulux celebrated 50 years and Coca Cola celebrated their 125 years in business. Both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic also focussed their advertising and marketing efforts on showing off their long-lasting expertise and trustworthiness.  This focus on brand heritage and reliability differentiates brands in an otherwise crowded marketplace, highlighting them as the go-to, having stood by consumers for a long time.

Featured image credit: PDD. Above image credit:

Heritage and longevity have become powerful tools for brands. The global financial crisis has made consumers feel uncertain about looking forward into the future when the outlook for many can be so pessimistic. Like in past crises, consumers are left yearning for nostalgia, looking to safer, more reliable places to reflect.

Image credit: Stella Artois

Brands are responding to this by playing on consumer emotion, evoking memories and experiences through a heavy focus on their past heritage. Advertising in the UK in particular has been playing on this consumer sweet spot, with department store John Lewis and Volkswagen finding success by placing their products reliably throughout the consumer lifespan in their high-profile advertising campaigns. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee has come at the right time for more established brands with some re-issuing past packaging concepts and discontinued products or re-stocking ‘old favourites’.

Ghost signs, retro fonts, and ‘old faithful’ brand mascots are proving to resonate with consumers, creating a familiar, family-like bond to their products – just think of the reappearance of the Tetley ‘tea folk’ ads. Crabbie’s Ginger Beer, a newer alcoholic beverage has managed to use this trend to their advantage, creating their own heritage through 1950s style advertising.

Image credit: Crabbie’s

Many companies recognise that the market place has become so crowded with new products and brands that people are recognising that playing the heritage card and appealing to consumers as being a ‘trusted’ brand that has always been ‘part of the family’ is a strong message to differentiate themselves.

For newer brands though, the strategy is less clear. With companies needing to take a longer holistic view to position the visual design of their products and align this to their brand message in order to sensitively position their offer in the market while maximising impact.

#PDDPersonalCare, @pddinnovation with your thoughts and opinions.

Read more…

Observations in Personal Care part 1: Adding Performance

Observations in Personal Care part 3: The Male Consumer

Observations in Personal Care part 4: Adding Value

Changes in the emerging markets, shifts in global consumerism and our insatiable desire to look and feel our best makes the personal care sector a very interesting place to be. We have identified some key trends and themes that are impacting the way we’re going to buy and apply personal care products in the future.

The cosmetics and skincare market has maintained steady growth in challenging times. What are brands doing to give their products the ‘X Factor’?

We are living in challenging financial times and brands are on high-alert, delivering bigger, better and more impactful products. The personal care industry has so far held its own whilst other industries have suffered.

Personal care appears high on the agendas of women with men also getting in on the act, buying into skin care and moisturising. Cosmetics continue to hold appeal, with the lines between fashion and cosmetics becoming blurred, meaning an increased product range turnover to mirror the changing seasons of the fashion industry.

Many consumers have unwavering dedication to products and formulations, seeing beauty as a lifelong pursuit. The last 10 years have seen many brands playing on science as a motivator for consumer reassurance. Now brands are going one step further, bringing the professionals to the dressing table via dynamic applicators to enhance the cosmetic experience.

Featured and  above  image credit: PDD

Consumers are being increasingly selective when buying new products, making personal care brands work harder to catch consumers’ attention. L’Oreal has been a key innovator when it comes to ‘packaging +’ concepts in the cosmetics and skin care area. Control, dispense, feeling and movement and user experience are considered by dynamic new applicators – delivering formulations and cosmetics as the professionals intended them to be.

Foundation rollers, specially developed spray mists for tan, dispensary heads with contouring capabilities and gel roll-ons are all adding another facet and increased value to the cosmetic and skin care experience. These skin care and cosmetics ‘mega products’ are bridging the gap between mass-market and professional results, by remotely adding guidance and performance.

Image credit:

As consumers are expecting to achieve great results from their skin care products through correct dosage and application, how can personal care brands step closer to providing their consumers with greater professional results and experiences?

#PDDPersonalCare, @pddinnovation with your thoughts and opinions.

Read more…

Observations in Personal Care part 2: Focus on Heritage

Observations in Personal Care part 3: The Male Consumer

Observations in Personal Care part 4: Adding Value

Again, another blog post about milk (see the last one here:  The second best thing after sliced bread. We talk milk bottle openers).

On a recent trip to Canada, we noticed that in supermarkets, larger volumes of milk are supplied in bags instead of bottles. We found this very interesting so decided to delve a little deeper and found this also to be the case in China, India and Poland.

We also noticed milk bags were being sold on our UK supermarket shelves with Sainsbury’s selling ‘milk in a bag’ in all its supermarkets in an attempt to cut down on plastic packaging. “Using 75 per cent less packaging, the bags cost slightly less than the bottles. A two pint milk bag – the only size available – costs 80 pence, compared with 86 pence for the same size bottle.”-  The Telegraph. Milk bags have been around in the UK for the past five years. But how popular have they been?

Image from Guardian

There are disadvantages to using the milk bag in comparison to the plastic bottles. Consumers have found them difficult to use, reporting leaks and spills. Milk bags sometimes puncture or burst. When pouring, the top of the bag can also topple over, causing the milk to spill. In 2007 Waitrose withdrew their ‘milk bag’ product from its supermarket shelves citing ‘poor sales’ as the reason.

Sainsbury’s however claim modifications to an earlier prototype jug and bag launched in 2008 have been made to make the product easier to use, and in February last year the new format was rolled out across all stores. “As well as using less packaging, the product is also cheaper. Compared with an equivalent two pint plastic bottle, milk in a bag saves Sainsbury’s customers at least 6 pence.” – Guardian.

Image from Daily Mail

Is this eco-friendly ‘milk bag’ something you would switch to? Or if you have purchased the product already, how have you found using the ‘milk bag’? We would be very interested to hear some of your feedback.