As if you needed one more reason to add packaging to your product mix! A new study from WestRock, a leading provider of differentiated paper and packaging solutions, shows that consumers are loving their product packaging more than ever. The study, 2018 Packaging Matters, finds that consumer satisfaction with their product packaging increased by 46% over six years, largely the result of brands responding to consumer preferences. In other words, know your customers, sell more stuff.

So what are consumers looking for? The study identifies three key components of packaging that matter most to buyers and impact their shopping decisions: functionality, trust, and aesthetics.

1. Functionality

The study finds that there are multiple aspects of functionality that matter most to consumers: ensuring the integrity of the product (84% giving this answer), making it easy to empty the package contents (77%), preventing the product from leaking or breaking (75%), and secure delivery features (such as those that keep the product securely closed) at 75%. Safety is particularly important to women (74% giving this answer compared to 68% for men).

Other factors relating to functionality? Convenience.

  • Ease of opening the package (76% giving this answer, rising among women).
  • Resealability (76%).
  • Easy identification and storage. Millennials, in particular, want packaging that is easy to find on the shelf (20% higher than consumers overall) and easy to store at home (80% compared to 69% for other generations).

2. Trust

How a package is designed can also create trust, and trust leads to higher sales. According to Packaging Matters, factors that increase trust include features that protect the package against tampering or contamination (79%), packaging that uses safe materials in manufacturing (71%), and the marketer’s willingness to be clear and honest about the ingredients and any potential dangers of the contents.

3. Purchasing Behavior

But ultimately, it’s how the package looks that is the most influential in purchase behavior. Packaging satisfaction is most closely tied to a packaging’s appearance. “Since the first Packaging Matters study, the percentage of consumers who purchased a product because of the innovative nature of the packaging increased by 45%,” notes the report. “Consumers who compared different products’ packaging to make a purchase decision increased by 43%.”

Aesthetics are the most influential under three conditions: when a consumer is deciding to try something new, buying something again, or switching brands.

  • 81% of consumers said they have tried something new because of the packaging.
  • 63% of consumers decided to purchase a product again based on the aesthetics of the package.
  • 52% have changed brands from a product they have purchased in the past because of new packaging.

Studies like this are important because the more your clients understand what motivates today’s shopper to buy, the more you can help them craft packaging that, well, matters. Check out the study and share it with your clients.

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