Pyrotec PackMedia provides insight into packaging expectations in the digital era

The connected consumerTimes are changing. Emerging consumers – the digital natives who speak the language of computers, digital devices, smart phones and social media – expect brands to offer new experiences.

As the internet creates a behaviour economy, packaging needs to play its part too and become more experiential. Connected consumers are informed and are looking for solutions-based or functional, hard-working packaging that ‘wows’ the consumer at point of sale. This is packaging that makes a statement, whether emotional, practical, rational or irrational, and fills a need in consumers’ lives.

Connected consumers and active packaging

Who are connected consumers? We all are. We have computers and smart phones enabling us to be interconnected – a community.

Emerging consumers want to be part of a community. They have different expectations of privacy, expect brands to demonstrate social responsibility and are willing to pay for exclusive experiences. Consumers want to be entertained, they want to collaborate and be recognised. To do this, brands are responding to the demand for active and intelligent packaging. According to Freedonia, the US active and intelligent packaging market is forecast to expand by 7.3 percent annually to US$4.0 billion in 2019. This is well above the packaging industry average. Active packaging provides functions beyond product protection and identification, such as moisture control. On the other hand, intelligent packaging incorporates features that indicate status or communicate product changes and other information. Many active and intelligent packaging products such as packaged desiccants and volatile corrosion inhibitors have a well-established presence.

Emerging products include antimicrobial packaging, advanced time-temperature monitors, and smartphone-enabled interactive packaging products.

Out with the traditional

Intelligent packaging demand will see the fastest growth in the US, advancing at a double-digit rate to reach US$1.5 billion in 2019. Products such as time-temperature indicators, smart labels and tags are becoming more common. Rapid adoption of tracking-enabled or interactive packaging components will be driven by recent legislation in the pharmaceutical markets that require producers to take steps to make products safer and easier to recall.

Statistics from PwC also reveal that digital channels have opened a new world of unprecedented choices for consumers where traditional marketing practices no longer apply. The expectation of companies and communities to go digital is continually increasing. While new organisations will embrace the concept of the digital era, established ones will need to think about how to transform their businesses. More particularly, how they will market, sell, produce and deliver their products and services in the future.

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