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Packaging & design

Six key packaging trends set to impact global markets in 2016

Market research firm Mintel has unveiled six key trends set to impact global packaging markets over the year, including implications for both consumers and brands.

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,” explains David Luttenberger, Global Packaging Director at Mintel. “Digital print that creates ‘hyper’ personal experiences; clean-label messaging that enhances brand transparency and builds purchasing confidence; eco-responsible packaging that empowers social consciousness; next-gen hybrids that offer functional and environmental benefits alongside great shelf presence; right-sized product packaging that meets consumer needs and shifting use-occasions; and apps that support ‘mobile-engaged’ packaging. These are the key themes we see resonating with consumers in 2016.

Digital evolution

Digital printing is capturing brands’ attention by creating opportunities to engage consumers on a local, personal and even emotional level. Mintel forecasts that 2016 will mark the tipping point for digital package printing, as brands move beyond using it for limited editions and personalization, and capitalize on its economic and speed-to-market advantages for mainstream package decoration.

Show me the goods

With the growing number of on-pack claims competing for shoppers’ attention, consumers are demanding more information about what they are really buying but seeking less on-pack clutter that confuses their purchasing decisions. Looking ahead, the concepts of clean labelling and clear on-pack communication are set to converge.

Phenomenal flexibles

According to Mintel, flexible packaging (specifically pouches) is no longer considered a trade-off. But at what point will it become non-differentiated? “Truly innovative brands are looking to the next generation of rigid/flexible hybrids that offer functional and environmental benefits alongside great shelf presence,” says the market research firm.

More than “just” green packaging

When product price and perceived product quality are equal, consumers will be increasingly turning to 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.

Size matters

The ability to reach consumers in time-shifting use occasions means brands must offer a greater range of pack sizes. Mintel says that 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.

Packaging “mobil-ution”

Last but not least, Mintel says there’s a revolution happening in mobile-engaged packaging tapping near-field communication (NFC) and bluetooth low-energy (BLE). “Moving forward, 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,” the market research firm concludes.

Mintel’s Global Packaging Trends 2016 is available here.

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