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11 Consumer Trends Driving Product Packaging Innovation

sustainable-packaging

As the consumer landscape grows ever more complex, many brand managers are wondering what the future of packaged products will look like and how they can stay ahead of rapidly changing trends to maintain interest in their products.

One thing is for certain: Consumer trends are driving innovation in the marketplace. Now, more than ever, it’s vital for brands to pay attention to the quick-paced evolution of the consumer climate.

With such a rapid rate of change, you may be wondering how you can know which trends to consider as you look for ways to appeal to today’s consumers. It’s not an easy question to answer, but narrowing down a few key areas to pay attention to can make the solutions more clear.

  • Urbanization — With urban areas growing at such a rapid rate, space has become more precious. This is changing everything from where consumers live and shop to the ways they think about the products they choose. Products with smaller, sustainable packaging are being favored by consumers. Brands looking to stay relevant will need to consider these changes.
  • Sustainability — One major shift in consumer attitudes has been an increased interest in sustainability. While sustainability has been a trend for many years now, its impact is reaching an all time high — more than 75% of consumers today now say they are more likely to buy a product if its company supports efforts for sustainability. Sustainable, eco-friendly packaging is a must for brands that want to compete in today’s market.
  • Emerging Middle Class — Humans all over the globe are climbing the economic ladder, and consequently, more consumers are able to purchase products than may have been able to in the past. With an increase in funds, consumer spending habits are also changing.
  • Shopping Behavior — The way consumers shop is also changing. Most consumers now spend time researching the best options before ever making a purchase. Being noticed is only the beginning today’s consumers are looking for brands they can connect with on multiple levels.
  • Safety & Trust — In a marketplace flooded with counterfeits, one growing consumer interest is the ability to trust a product. Consumers want to feel like they know what they’re buying and whether it will actually fulfill its claims. Brands that can show honesty and transparency are favored more by today’s consumers.
  • Healthy Living — People are taking a more active role in decisions that affect their health, and the result is a trend toward more healthful products.
  • Digitization — As digital devices become more enmeshed in our daily lives, products that can be integrated with digital content are becoming more and more popular among consumers.
  • E-Commerce — Consumers are also shopping online more often than they might enter brick-and-mortar retail settings. As it becomes easier than ever to have a product delivered in a decreasingly short period of time, online retailers are gaining an even greater edge over conventional stores.
  • Convenience — Another facet of today’s consumer attitudes that bears considering is a faster-paced lifestyle. Products that are conveniently packaged have been outpacing their competitors by appealing to consumers need for convenience and ease of use.
  • Alternative Channels — The ways consumers come into contact with products is also changing. Products are now, often, first encountered through social media platforms and online apps, which is changing the way products are both marketed and sold.
  • Experience Seekers — The single transaction is becoming less popular among today’s consumers, who are more interested in products and companies they can have an ongoing relationship with, in addition to connecting with other like-minded consumers.

Paying attention to consumer trends can help brands to navigate the quickly changing market. As urbanization is becomes a major factor for today’s consumers, brands that carefully consider their impact both economically and ecologically can grow their appeal.  Consumers are looking for eco-friendly, convenient product packaging that can be easily shipped and involves minimal waste.

Having a product packaging partner who understands these trends and their effect on your marketing strategies is now not only an asset, it is essential.

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Bridget O'Donnell

Written by Bridget O'Donnell

What LEGO’s Sustainable Packaging Teaches Us About Overseas Innovation

Since 1949, children across the globe have fawned over tiny, plastic, interlocking bricks.

LEGOs are a not only a classic toy but a staple in many households. Many kids beg their parents to take them to the majestic LEGOLAND, an amusement park where all their wishes and dreams could come true.

Why Nestlé, Unilever & PepsiCo are Banning Oxo-degradable Plastic Packaging

Originally marketed as an eco-friendly packaging material, new evidence regarding the potentially negative impact of oxo-degradable plastics has led a number of companies and governments to restrict their use.

More than 150 companies and global organizations, including Nestlé, Unilever and PepsiCo, have recently endorsed a total ban on the material in light of its potentially negative environmental impact.

Oxo-degradable plastic packaging, which includes select plastic pouch bags, is often marketed as a solution to plastic pollution because it claims to degrade into harmless residues within a period ranging from a few months to several years. However, oxo-degradable plastics do not degrade into harmless residues, but instead, fragment into tiny shards of plastic that actually contribute to plastic pollution.

Often, consumers think that because a material is biodegradable, it can be composted or even littered on the ground, because, it is thought, the material will break down into nothing over time. This actually ends up leading to an increase in pollution, since consumers don’t end up recycling or repurposing the material, and misconceptions about how the plastic will degrade leads them to end up putting it back into landfills.

What is important to note in this case is that although oxo-degradable plastics are biodegradable, being biodegradable does not necessarily mean that a material is eco-friendly. Although these plastics do break down over time, the tiny pieces they break down into are still plastics that contribute to pollution — they do not degrade into nothing or into another usable substance.

For companies looking to make the switch to sustainable packaging, it is important to consider that sustainable packaging does not necessarily mean biodegradable packaging, and vice versa.

Why New FDA Guidelines Could Bring Big Changes to Pet Food Packaging

Today’s consumers are demanding transparency and accountability from all types of products, and pet food is no exception.

Greater scrutiny over pet food ingredients, and an increasing demand for responsibility, sustainability and complete transparency from pet food manufacturers is driving change within the industry. As the consumer demand for “clean” pet food labeling evolves as a major topic within the world of pet packaging, FDA guidelines are shifting.

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