“Connected packaging is witnessing renewed interest, driven by growth in ownership of connected devices worldwide and advancement in technologies that link packaging to the online world,” explains David Luttenberger, Global Packaging Director at Mintel.
Brands now have a wealth of options to connect virtually with packaging. Connected packaging can be the link between physical and digital shopping worlds, giving brands a route to some control over how the brand and product is viewed online, as well as being able to deliver engaging content and product-specific information to directly influence purchasing decisions.
Though recyclable packaging claims have become common, claims to include recycled content are still rare. Consumers have been recycling some packaging for years and already think that recyclable packaging is standard. They are now demanding more.
“Brands have an opportunity to differentiate and ride consumer awareness of recycling issues by being part of the solution and committing to using recycled material in new packaging,” writes Mintel in the report.
Global e-commerce sales reached more than US$2.1 trillion in 2017 and are expected reach US$3.8 trillion by 2021, representing an annual growth rate of around 14% per year. As consumers increasingly embrace online shopping, branded e-commerce packaging and packaging strategies are changing the face of the industry. “The rapid development of e-commerce has had more of an impact on the design of packaging globally than anything the industry has experienced in the past several decades,” comments David Luttenberger. “In e-commerce, brands are learning that messaging and branding should be split between the shipping container and the interior of the box - with the latter incorporating elements that give consumers a sense of delight and surprise when opening the parcel.”
Of course, consumers’ expectations depend on the type of product ordered online, but brands must consider that consumers will continue to equate the quality of the product and brand with the care taken to package and ship it.
Linked to the growing awareness of the harmful effects of plastics on the environment and human health, plastic repulsion is growing among shoppers and new opportunities such as plastic-free aisles, package-free stores and alternative pack materials allow them to actively make choices about the plastic that is put in their basket.
“Brands should act now, either to ensure a place in emerging plastic-free zones by switching to acceptable pack materials, or by engaging with the debate, clearly explaining the benefits of plastic packaging to their product, and addressing plastic pollution concerns with appropriate end of life pack solutions,” concludes David Luttenberger.