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What’s in store for packaging in 2017?

By Natasha Spencer , 11-Jan-2017
Last updated on 11-Jan-2017 at 16:21 GMT2017-01-11T16:21:24Z

What’s in store for packaging in 2017?

Looking ahead to the next 12 months, we spoke to David Luttenberger, Global Packaging Director at Mintel about this year’s top packaging trend predictions.

Mintel has announced five key trends that are set to impact global packaging markets and affect brands, retailers, package manufacturers and consumers.

Creating a buzz

“Consumers often and easily get caught up in the unending ebb and rapid flow of commercial fads, social issues, and branded messages,” said David Luttenberger, Global Packaging Director at Mintel.

“With so much activity constantly vying for their attention, packaging becomes white noise – an often silent but steady force in consumers’ daily lives.”  

This is set to change in the foreseeable future though as companies are finding new and creative ways to appeal to their audiences via packaging.

"The impact of the combination of superior structures and succinct branding, the way packaging and our mobile devices are becoming inextricably intertwined, and the way brands are using packaging to reach out to consumers beyond their traditional categories – to include the influence of online shopping – is having more of an impact than consumers realise. At least for now,” Luttenberger added.

Top Trends

With the need for innovation in product design and development ever-important, brands this year will be focusing on presenting new experiences to consumers to stand out on the shelves and entice them away from the competition.

      1.     Reuniting structure and branding

Packaging structures are what it’s all about in 2017. Brands now need to evolve beyond traditional designs and create unique packaging structures that encourage brand awareness and enhance brand identity.

     2.  Stirring visual excitement online

Mintel’s September 2016 US Online and Mobile Shopping Report revealed that online sales doubled between 2011 and 2016, emphasising the importance of packaging when making online purchases.

The conversation around packaging will increasingly move from physical store buying to at-home online shopping. Brands need to be aware of both the opportunities and threats that this brings and adjust their packaging strategies accordingly.

"There are two camps of thought regarding the role packaging will play in the growing online shopping environment: one is that packaging will play a lesser role, where choices are brand specific,” said Luttenberger.

“The second is that packaging must play a greater role – one that helps ensure brand equity related to the user experience and how packaging contributes to that experience.”  

“As such online entities as Amazon continue to expand regionally, FMCGs will be forced to do everything in their power to maintain the equity in their brand so that consumers continue to see the same value proposition in products purchased online as they do with those purchased in brick and mortar stores – and this includes providing packaging that contributes and even enhances that brand value proposition,” Luttenberger went on to say.

As a result, “there is a need for brands to step up their game in terms of primary and secondary packaging associated with e-retailing."

         3.  Smart, active and intelligent packaging

There still remains a lack of clarity around what smart, active, intelligent and even mobile-enabled packaging means, as standardised definitions do not exist.

However, these products are proving popular with consumers, who appreciate the life-changing effects that these innovations can have. Mintel reported that some packaging is even succeeding in saving lives.  

       4.  Making it an experience

Creating a unique identity and information to support brand recognition has become a leading focus in brand’s strategies, as consumers look for those that are entertaining and engaging.

       5.   Brand extension

Although price still remains an important determining factor in consumers’ purchasing decisions, brand trust and loyalty is also vital. By developing product portfolios that contain contemporary packaging features that move beyond traditional expectations, brands can leverage consumer support.

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