All packaging serves the basic function of product delivery. However, the form and aesthetics in which it does this continues to evolve. Because of the intense competition and array of products from which consumers can choose, packaging must work harder than ever at the shelf, on the rack or wherever it may be to attract attention and motivate purchase. Consumers are increasingly being inundated with information and it can be a challenge for them to navigate through the clutter. They are becoming smarter, though, and marketers need to stay on top of their game to remain relevant to their core audiences. Packaging plays an important role in not only communicating what’s inside, but also showing who a company is. Ultimately, marketers need to be very deliberate in their decision making when it comes to packaging because it needs to drive the desired end result: their product in the shopping cart.
With 2016 underway, BrandDirections has been looking at what is happening in the marketplace for packaging and has put together what we feel are the trends to watch.
- Being genuine is key
Packaging shouldn’t look like the products are mass-produced, even if they are. This could be the result of the growing popularity of sites like Etsy (an e-commerce website focused on handmade, vintage or unique factory-manufactured items), or consumers just getting tired of a complicated world of consumer packaged goods. Either way, crafted packaging using handwritten-style fonts or hand drawn images is gaining traction and is being used to convey quality and authenticity.
- Less is more
The concept of clean design is two-fold. First, consumers are looking for less clutter on the packaging. This eliminates confusion and helps them immediately find the information they are looking for. Second, simple and clean design using fewer colors and simpler fonts allows for the product to truly be the hero.
- Educating with packaging
Given the increased use of smartphones, consumers are used to having information at their fingertips. This is influencing packaging as well. More than ever, consumers are looking to packaging to provide information such as the product’s origin of the ingredients used in manufacturing and its supply chain. This need for transparency will be solved on pack with the use of NFC (near field communication) and 2D barcodes, driving consumers to microsites specific to the product they want to know more about.
- Flexible is growing
We will continue to see cans and jars leaving the shelf and being replaced with flexible packaging. According to Mintel, approximately 32% of consumers think flexible packaging, like single serve applesauce pouches, is modern. In many cases flexible packaging is easier to transport, making it ideal for consumers on the go.
- Eco-friendly solutions
Shoppers are looking for packaging they can repurpose, reuse or recycle. This is a key factor in their purchasing decision. In addition, it’s also important that companies show they care about the environmental impact of their packaging. While consumers don’t always want to pay for eco-friendly packaging, a company being able to say it is eco-friendly often has a positive impact on the brand and can improve purchase interest.
This is our take on the trends. We invite you to share what you have seen or what you believe is going to develop in 2016. Let us know in the comment section below. And if you have packaging needs that you would like to address, contact us!