Changing Consumer Behaviors And Technology Disruptors
Elie Al Marji, CD at WonderEight
Global branding and digital communication agency
Today we are passing through major trends that will change the packaging industry within the next 10 years. The constantly changing consumer behaviors, technology disruptors and sustainability will present major challenges which will force design and packaging companies to seriously reevaluate their strategies.
By creating a sense of urgency, investing in R&D and innovation these trends will present great opportunities for growth, improved profit margins and a shift to how we perceive product packaging.
The move to online retail in general will continue to have a significant impact on packaging needs. E-commerce packaging will diminish the traditional role of primary packaging: less investment on packaging designed to attract consumers in retail stores and more research in robust packaging that can endure shipment.
The challenge for design agencies is to enhance the unboxing experience of consumers while for packaging companies is to create primary packaging designed for direct shipment without secondary protective outer box thereby saving the product manufacturer unnecessary expenses and nature by using less plastic.
With changing consumer preferences, a major game changer arises: personalization. Consumers striving for convenience and more package options – from big-sized to single use packaging – will lead to a huge increase in SKU and packaging sizes and forms.
This is important when it comes to Lebanese consumers especially within millennials, who have gotten weary of impersonal experiences offered by international brands. Instead they opt for more authentic experiences; shopping at independent stores and avoiding the big food companies.
Increased public awareness about the damage plastics have on the environment, is pressuring governments to push for tougher regulations, especially for single-use plastic. In turn, this is constantly challenging big brands to not only find more suitable alternatives, but also ones that do not cut into their profit margins or compromise on the consumer experience. Through sustainable packaging we will see major shift in material, introduction of new materials (through innovation) and definitely new product designs. An example that comes to mind is canned drinking water instead of plastic bottles.
Cost has always been the king, influencing package design and purchase power.
Millennials have smaller disposable income than what their parents used to have and therefore, having the right product at the right price range is paramount. Furthermore, the entire miniaturization trend has become less costly due to digital printing which helps in cutting down costs and create limited labels for e-commerce.
Lastly, especially today, the emergence of price-sensitive consumers is in part due to their ability of using e-commerce sites to compare the cost of different products in the same category. In other words, companies can no longer manipulate the price of their products as consumers will often take the time to find the best offer in terms of value for their money.
Packaging companies need to develop creative solutions to reduce costs without compromising convenience features and sustainability.
Smart & Virtual labels
For us, as a design agency, what we are focused on now is the integration of traditional packaging with IoT (internet of things) solutions to enhance the brand’s narrative and give the consumer a genuine feel of the brand. From smart labels that can indicate, in real-time, the product’s remaining shelf life, integrity, production source, to data mining (extracting immense insights directly from consumers) to virtual labels.
Virtual labels (AI and AR enabled packaging) role is to support the brand’s storytelling with videos, testimonials, and photos of the brand’s source. Design agencies will have a new platform to tell their brand story on packaging through entertaining content relevant to millennials – the mobile generation.
Product and process innovation are key. So, design agencies have to step up their game and packaging companies to develop a new business model based on the above-mentioned trends will achieve success and impact the future of packaging.