Here are the packaging trends to be aware of in 2019. With the continued growth of e-commerce, protective packaging will continue to be important however this is quickly being outweighed by other considerations. As retail channels continue to become more diversified, packaging needs to keep pace. Technological advances in packaging have created more unique opportunities for branding and marketing and environmentally friendly packaging is finally being taken seriously in the design process. Here the three main trends we’re seeing this year:
1. Custom Branded Packaging
Packaging, now more than ever, needs to tell a story and offer a premium experience, not just serve as a container for a product. The experience of unpacking a product is part of a customer’s experience with a brand, much like a company’s name and logo. This is especially true in e-commerce where a memorable unboxing experience increases interaction time with customers. Not taking advantage of this critical window is a lost opportunity to build long-term loyalty to your brand.
Consumers are 40% more likely to share pictures of products on social media that come in premium packaging. We can see examples of this in the fashion and cosmetics industries where gift with purchase, bespoke gift-wrapping and handwritten notes are used to build loyalty with customers. Packaging has now become a critical tool in the marketing toolkit. A single well-designed package can increase credibility, make your product more memorable and tell your brand’s story.
2. Sustainable Packaging
A Nielsen study found that 66 percent of global consumers said they would pay more for sustainable brands. Environmentally friendly packaging has finally started to influence mainstream packaging design. Big names such as Nestle, Kellogg’s and Unilever have pledged to use 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025. As consumers become more aware of the impact of packaging on the environment and manufacturers become more socially responsible, a zero-waste target is becoming the norm rather than an exception. Here are some sustainable packaging trends we expect to see:
a) Less Packaging
Consumers not only want recyclable packaging they also want less packaging in general. It’s a question of need. Over complicated packaging is a real turn-off. We can see this in the naming and shaming of brands that use too much packaging. There is an increased scrutiny of businesses that are deemed to be wasteful in their practices. Consumer decision-making will place greater weight on this issue as plastic pollution becomes a bigger problem.
Businesses, both e-commerce and brick and mortar retailers, need to question the need for certain types of packaging. Most importantly, they need to give their customers a choice. For instance, asking customers if they need a bag lets the customer decide on their own environmental footprint. Online brands can often ship a product in a smaller mailer envelope rather than a traditional box. This also eliminates the need for filler materials which are often not recyclable, not to mention the cost saving for the business by not having to use filler materials in the first place (brown craft paper, packaging peanuts, styrofoam, etc.).
b) Multi-use Designs
There is only so much that can be done with recyclable materials. Packaging also needs to be designed to be reused. For instance, branded tote bags instead of single-use plastics offer many benefits. They can be used for products of more varied shapes and sizes, they offer ongoing branding and they are obviously meant for reuse, so the customer is more likely to do just that.
c) More Communication with Consumers
It may not always be obvious to the consumer what their responsibility is in all this is so it’s important for brands to communicate clearly. After all, what good is it investing in biodegradable packaging if you are unaware that customers are sending it to a landfill! 70% of consumers want more information than current packaging provides. Not only information about the product but also about instructions for reuse or disposal of the packaging it comes in.
3. Omnichannel Considerations
There is a bigger need than ever for packaging that considers the requirements of all retail channels. Most shoppers use a mix of channels for purchasing and browsing goods: some might shop in-store but get their purchases delivered to them at home, or some may browse online and then have a ‘click and collect’ option for in-store pickup. Consumers want a seamless, integrated retail experience across all channels. This begins at the design stage of packaging by making sure the pack delivers the same experience when it arrives from an online purchase as it does when it’s purchased in store. No customer wants to feel that their value as a customer is worth less because they bought online. However, this is indeed what may happen if you offer bespoke wrapping in store but then ship the same product in a plastic mailer if bought online.
In summary, 2019 will be an interesting year for packaging as sustainability takes on increased importance at the design stage. Branded packaging will also be on trend as consumers move towards wanting a closer connection and experience with the products they love.