ClickStick freshens up the mature deodorant market

February 18, 2015
5 min read

It’s something that all of us rely on daily. However, the deodorant market has seen a lack of packaging innovation. The way we choose our deodorants is largely driven by brand loyalty, for example 44% of UK product users choose their deodorant based on the brand they trust. Similarly in the US, 43% of users prefer to buy the same brand of deodorant. This relatively high brand loyalty could explain the lack of innovation we have seen and also the difficulty for new brands to enter the market, especially with a radically different product.

Under 10% of UK deodorant buyers consider product packaging as an important purchase, rising to just over 10% of those aged 16-24. While this could suggest opportunities to make packaging more innovative in order to appeal to younger demographics, this does not correspond to what consumers consider to be an innovation in the category. A lot of desired deodorant features focus on novel ingredients that would last longer, or that would compliment the users perfume or other beauty products they are using. .

Black ClickStick ClickStick_App

Innovation in deodorants

ClickStick, a new product that has been developed by students from Princeton University, claims to be the world’s first smart electric deodorant. There is a smartphone app that connects consumers with the smart deodorant pack and provides control over how much gel is dispensed each time based on a consumer’s activity level, ensuring it’s not too much or too little. The deodorant pack is synced with the smartphone app that records users’ basic measurements such as height and weight, in order to ensure optimal product use.

44% of UK product users choose their deodorant based on the brand they trust

The device itself has a button for product activations, along with a refillable deodorant pack that suggests less packaging waste, since only refills need to be purchased in the future. The creators also claim it minimizes aluminium exposure, proves easy one-click application and saves up to 90% of plastic waste. An especially appealing feature of the new packaging is the ability to personalise the device with unique applicators, which could resonate with young consumers who are looking for products made especially for them.

ClickStick is available for pre-order in the US for $21 for the basic version and $4 for each refill, or $10 for a three pack refill. It also offers a travel case and limited edition packaging for those who want to really stand out from the crowd. While to some the initial price may be considered an investment, other consumers might struggle to justify the initial purchase. Targeting younger people does not mean that they are willing to pay extra for packaging considered “cool”. Indeed in the US, price is ranked second when selecting a product, and is even more important for young women aged 18-34, compared to men of the same age. This means that despite potential environmental benefits and more effective product use via an app, the main target group might still struggle to justify the purchase.

Packaging innovation to maximise product use

Mintel’s Life Hacking trend notes that today consumers are looking for tools that help them improve their productivity and maximise every spare minute. This also creates the perception that beauty and personal care packages that take a “high tech” look will make product use easier and faster.

This therefore creates a gap between regular packaging that has been on the market for a long time and technologically advanced packaging that is connected to a smartphone. As well as this, innovations such as ClickStick address only younger demographics, leaving everyone else with the same old products.

Will a smart deodorant smell success?

Time will show if ClickStick will become a success and appeal to Millennial’s tastes, but in the meantime it can serve as an inspiration for the deodorant category to create innovative packaging solutions. High use of smartphones and other electronic decides does not mean that packaging has to follow suit and become high tech, but it could indicate that packaging needs to be changed to fit the lifestyles of consumers who are constantly connected. Packaging solutions that ease consumers’ lives and allow them to use their smartphone to aid product dispensing could become real innovation.

For example, Stiks Cosmetiks were inspired to keep pace with technology to create a flat lipstick pack that fits into a small purse or pocket, leaving space for a smartphone. The unique flip-top mechanism of the STIK allows consumers to open the pack with one hand. It has enough lipstick above the base of the pack for single use and the pack can easily be closed one handed. The idea was to design a lipstick pack that fits a connected consumer’s lifestyles, but it is not overly complex or technologically advanced.

For more information on the deodorant market see Mintel’s Deodorants – UK, 2015 and Deodorants and Antiperspirants – US, 2014 reports.

Viktorija Gnatoka
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