Digital printing is capturing brand-owners’ attention by creating opportunities to engage consumers on “a local, personal and even emotional level”, said Mintel researchers.
The fact that nearly one quarter of Chinese consumers indicated they would pay more for personalised soft drink packaging revealed digital printing was positioned to grow well beyond industry estimates.
Next year will mark the tipping point for digital package printing, as brands broaden its use from limited editions and personalisation to capitalise on its economic and speed-to-market advantages for mainstream package decoration.
Mintel’s global packaging director David Luttenberger said: “There’s a parallel path between brands striving to engage consumers on a more personal level and consumers’ expectations for packaging to deliver that experience. Digital print that creates ‘hyper’ personal experiences …”.
The other five top packaging trends were: Show me the goods, Phenomenal flexibles, More than ‘just’ green packages, Size matters and Packaging mobil-ution.
The Show me the goods packaging trend reflected consumers’ demand for more information about their potential purchases while seeking less on-pack clutter that confuses buying decisions.
“This is perhaps nowhere more apparent than in food, where clear and concise information about ingredients, functional product attributes and safety must be communicated with total transparency,” said Mintel.
In future, the concepts of clean labeling and clear on-pack communication were set to converge, it predicted.
Innovation the key
“Brands and manufacturers are innovating packaging to keep global consumers, not only engaged, but to develop brand loyalty which is becoming more and more intangible in this modern age where consumers have more choices than ever before across all packaged goods.”
- David Luttenberger, Mintel
Phenomenal flexibles referred to the Mintel’s view that flexible packaging – specifically pouches – were no longer considered a trade-off. Nearly one third (32%) of consumers associated flexible packaging with being modern, and brands were said to be tapping into flexibles’ nearly unparalleled marketing opportunities.
But when will flexible packaging, particularly pouches, become non-differentiated, questioned the research organisation? “Truly innovative brands will be looking to the next generation of rigid/flexible hybrids that offer functional and environmental benefits alongside great shelf presence.”
More than ‘just’ green packages highlighted moves to step up recycling next year. Package recycling still fell well below its potential, despite brands’ best efforts, according to the report.
“When product price and perceived product quality are equal, consumers will be increasingly turning to these eco- and alternative-use attributes as the deciding purchasing factor, and brands cannot afford to ignore this as they develop their brand positioning and marketing strategies,” predicted the researcher.
For example, nearly two-thirds (63%) of US consumers agreed that reusable and repurposable packaging was a key purchasing driver.
Size matters referred to shoppers on both sides of the Atlantic expressing clear preferences for packaging sizes. British consumers were asking for more choices in size for alcoholic beverages, while American families were said to be seeking value in larger container sizes for milk.
About a half of health-conscious snackers said they would be willing to try a new product if it was supplied in a small, trial-size pack. “The ability to reach consumers in time-shifting use occasions means brands must offer a greater range of pack sizes,” said the researchers.
“In 2016, brands must deliver packaging that consumers see as right-sized for themselves and shifting use-occasions in order to overcome the growing lack of brand loyalty.”
The Packaging mobil-ution trend highlighted the “revolution” happening in mobile-engaged packaging. Unlike the previous generation, which focused on clunky QR and text codes, brand owners were now tapping near-field communication and bluetooth low-energy as primary engagement technologies.
“As brands clamour for innovative ways to engage with shoppers, the mobile environment will become the new front line in the battle to win consumers’ hearts, minds and wallets,” said the researchers.
Mintel global packaging director David Luttenberger said: “Brands and manufacturers are innovating packaging to keep global consumers, not only engaged, but to develop brand loyalty which is becoming more and more intangible in this modern age where consumers have more choices than ever before across all packaged goods.”
Read more about Mintel’s packaging trends report here.
Meanwhile don't miss the Food Manufacture Group's one-day conference on food and drink innovation New Frontiers in Food and Drink at Etc Venues, St Pauls, London on March 17, 2016.
Six packaging trends to hit global markets in 2016
- Digital evolution
- Show me the goods
- Phenomenal flexibles
- More than ‘just’ green packages
- Size matters
- Packaging mobil-ution