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Trends In The Packaging Industry Outlook For 2021

Just like other industries, product packaging reflects trends. These changes affect both manufacturing and design issues. They impact the way consumers compare, select, and use a variety of products. In 2021, analysts expect some significant developments in this field.

Top Ten Trends in Packaging

Selecting the top ten trends in packaging proves challenging, considering the diversity and variations in this huge marketplace. Yet every year, analysts endeavor to identify the most significant emerging trends. It appears 2021 may defy some predictions, perhaps largely due to the disruptive events occurring around the world during the first six months of the year.

A Tumultuous, Disruptive Year

In 2021, several ongoing and novel trends combined to disrupt the packaging marketplace in many places. A growing interest in environmentalism in the Peoples Republic of China and increasingly vocal global concerns about the high volume of plastic materials polluting the ocean spurred interest in the development of sustainable packaging. Additionally, manufacturers responded to companies seeking to create more appealing, well-branded product packaging from a marketing standpoint. Some firms actively sought to engineer “smart” packaging capable of assisting merchandise tracking and disseminating ready-to-launch high-tech products in various settings.

Yet, at the same time, a well-publicized Novel Coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic workplace impacts also influenced numerous businesses providing packaging. The epidemic disrupted some established supply chains. It created delays and shortages that affected many enterprises and industries.

Additionally, the emphasis upon limiting the spread of the Covid-19 virus caused a growing number of consumers to focus on the importance of biosafety as a packaging issue. This concern appeared most pronounced in terms of the packaging of food and beverage products. Perhaps the full repercussions of these trends will continue to unfold during the coming months and years.

Key Packaging Trends to Watch

Consider some of the most important product trends to emerge in the global packaging industry during 2021. Likely “top ten” candidates include the following:

1. Flat Illustrations

Packaging will lend itself to two-dimensional illustrations on the exteriors of most products. From a practical standpoint, this trend enables easier, more cost-effective package label printing. Even ornate designs on most merchandise packages won’t rely upon multi-textured surfaces.

2. Metamorphoses

Many packaging designs will display a transforming or changing scene on the package. These metamorphoses might involve detailed illustrations changing in appearance as the eye travels around the exterior of a container. This trend lends visual interest to some items on retail shelves. It also conveys a sense of progress and movement.

3. Opulence And Luxury

Consistent with recent economic downturns in many places, expect packaging for discretionary products to emphasize a sense of wealth and richness. Both detailed, ornate designs and the use of gold or silver foiled packaging may help convey this sense of luxury and comfort. Marketers want customers to feel pampered and valued when they purchase their brands as impulse expenditures.

4. Harmoniously Structured, Balanced Layouts

With respect to the use of text, many package designers will stress well-balanced, tidy, and evenly balanced designs. These layouts will appear well-ordered and carefully arranged. For example, expect package designers to employ clear, readily comprehended type fonts on packages in order to communicate clearly with consumers. Sections of text may include boxes around types of messages in a neat, highly structured presentation.

5. Earth Tones And Neutral Colors

The current packaging trends reflect a movement away from the sharp black-and-white color contrasts preferred a few years ago. Many product suppliers will emphasize warm earth tones and softer, neutral colors in their packaging designs. The nature of the product will likely influence the specific selection of shades.

6. Sustainability

Continuing a trend that emerged a few years ago, many product manufacturing firms will strive to supply sustainable, environmentally-friendly packaging for their products. This strategy promotes a company’s image in a positive light while also supporting a greener society. Since a significant percentage of consumers report interest in this subject, using a sustainable form of packaging likely also generates stronger customer goodwill.

7. Tech-Integration

Particularly in the case of innovative, cutting-edge products, even the packaging may use technology to reinforce the brand image. Tech-integrated packaging in some contexts also facilitates product tracking. This trend emerges in product shipments designed to furnish consumers of electronic gadgets with ready-to-launch, fully assembled products, for example. The manufacturer essentially employs the packaging in a way that assists the customer in identifying helpful tech-related resources. A box or container may contain a website registration or product information URL clearly visible on the exterior to assist customers in locating technical support services.

8. Transparent Packaging

In the interests of optimizing full disclosure and accountability, some companies will adopt packaging offering a window-like transparent view of the merchandise. This trend occurs widely in food and beverage packages, for example. It enables vendors to showcase the wholesome and attractive qualities of their goods to potential buyers effectively.

9. Storytelling

One important trend for 2021 relates to the desire of many firms to employ packaging more effectively to share brand storytelling. By recounting key information about the firm on product packaging, marketers enjoy a better opportunity to cultivate a business relationship with the end consumer. In some cases, this trend may prove as simple as indicating social media contract information on the exterior of merchandise. In other situations, a producer may share detailed information about the company’s mission or its history.

10. Biosafety

Concerns about the possibility that the Covid-19 virus might contaminate some food products have raised consumer awareness about biosafety issues, particularly in packaging foods and beverages. Jessica Paige recently addressed this topic in an article discussing packaging in the wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic. She notes items that lacked packaging in the past in some locations may now require packaging in certain locales in order to reassure customers about the ability of the marketers to protect goods from contact with coronavirus. For example, changing packaging for some bulk food products likely reflects this trend. Food producers may reassure their customers by emphasizing efforts to package these goods to promote better hygiene and biosafety.

Packaging Industry Stats and Growth Projections in 2021

A number of widely circulated online statistics shed light upon the current packaging industry. Some of these figures may illuminate recent trends evident during 2021:

  1. Currently, the total cost of packaging as a percentage of the price of products on store shelves covers a broad spectrum. Some analysts maintain packaging ranges from 1.4% up to 40% of the total amount consumers pay for merchandise. On average, shoppers typically spend $1 in packaging for every $11 in purchases at retailers.
  2. Some industry forecasters anticipate the packaging industry in the United States alone will expand at a CAGR of around 3.5% during the next five years.
  3. The types of food packaging materials vary from one nation to another. For example, in Australia, the primary constituents of packaging (in terms of decreasing popularity) consist of: paper and cardboard (34%); rigid plastic (27%); glass (11%); flexible plastic (10%); beverage cans (6%); other metals (9%), and other materials (3%).
  4. Glass has remained a historically popular packaging material. One consumer survey indicated roughly 8 out of every 10 respondents consider glass containers a superior form of packaging to preserve food taste.
  5. Yet some 74% of consumers during a recent survey conducted under the auspices of Trivium Packaging indicated they would consider paying a higher amount for products that utilized completely environmentally safe, sustainable packaging materials.
  6. Plastics have remained a popular packaging material in the United States for decades. Since the 1950s, companies generated some 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic, much of it for use in packaging. Factories produced over half of this volume of plastic during the past decade and a half.
  7. Reportedly, the most broadly utilized type of resin-based plastic employed by the packaging industry today consists of high-density polyethylene (HDPE).
  8. Approximately 8 out of every 10 products sold in the European Union and the United States utilize cardboard as a packaging component, frequently in the form of cartons or boxes employed during transit. The USA alone employs billions of corrugated boxes annually to transport items for sale.
  9. A few years ago, one study alleged Americans waste 63 million tons of food during a typical year. This study reported in the Roadmap to Reduce U. S. Food Waste by 20 Percent led to recent efforts to use packaging more effectively to minimize food waste.
  10. Perhaps due to the recent Coronavirus Pandemic, analysts reported a survey conducted by the Institute of Supply Management found Chinese firms operated at only 55% of total production capacity during the period between February 22nd and March 5th of 2021. This slowdown ultimately impacted global product supply chains, including the packaging industry.

A Fascinating And Diverse Industry

Around the world, product packaging holds an important place in commercial transactions. This broad field encompasses numerous subcategories. Today sectors such as the food packaging industry, the luxury goods packaging industry, the electronics packaging industry, and other specialized types of product packaging often attract the interest of niche marketing firms. This diverse, ever-changing industry reflects the needs of a rapidly developing global society.