The packaging industry remains in a state of flux with mergers, acquisitions and buyouts every week. Yet, new products and new players appear every day. Despite it all, packaging is virtually recession proof. Simply put, a product needs a package to sell it, so where would we be without it? Here are some important packaging trends for 06 that cannot be overlooked by anyone who wants their products to sell.

Demographics Rule

If you are not on top of these trends then you had better begin to be. Who buys what is constantly in a state of change. Many marketers think that it is OK to have one universal package that appeals to every one. Wrong. Each target demographic has unique needs. Two very hot packaging demographics include women and boomers.

Note: The first boomer turned 60 years of age on 1/1/06. That means that the largest purchasing demographic can be uniquely identified through product packaging. If you don’t know or understand what they want, ask me about my special report Packaging Products for Boomers.

Health Prevails

No matter what age they are, people are genuinely concerned about their health. They are watching what they consume. The better job you do in educating this consumer, the more products you can sell. Consumers will increase their awareness of what goes into the products they use or eat. A knowledgeable consumer will be your best customer and the package its where it all begins.

Big Brother IS Watching You

Yes, shades of 1984. With all the advances in intelligent packaging, product manufacturers really can tell what you buy and where. This is going to increase with the advent of new and innovative smart packaging applications. They ultimate goal will be to track every product from the manufacturer, custom electronic cigarette consumer and disposal. There is quite a bit of interest around the “cradle to grave” concept.

Convenience Is King or Queen

It’s all about time or the lack of if. The more you can simplify consumers’ lives the more you will connect. Think of all the packaging categories that have developed around this concept. HMR-Home meal replacement, Grab and Go, and RTE-ready to eat categories all will continue to improve products and increase sales. Life is not getting any simpler for the majority of us so if you can’t help through product packaging, step aside because other company’s products will.

One BIG Happy Family

Globalization will continue unabated. Don’t just think US consumers. Some of the most intriguing products are not developed in the US. Other innovations will be seen in emerging markets that are not necessarily in NA.

Focus on Functionality

What can you do for me? Tell me why I should buy your product and what benefits I will receive from purchasing it. Don’t obfuscate. Seventy percent of purchasing decisions are made in the store in 2.6 seconds. Get to the point and persuade me to buy. Otherwise, I’ll spend my shopping dollars on a product that does.

DYI Body and Healthcare

Consumers are taking charge of their own well-being. They evaluate wellness and body care products on the deliverability of benefits. People are reading packages to become well informed about the value of the product.

Green and Greener

The environment is heating up (and I don’t mean global warming). Companies are building brands around environmentally friendly products. Think about Wal-Mart and the introduction of corn-based plastics in the produce department. One major shift in consumer acceptance can cause a landslide of new product innovations.

Off the Wall Opportunities

Today’s hot category could be tomorrow’s loser. Trend tracking is where the latest action comes from. Be sure and seek out the latest trends and how they impact your business. If you are not marketing to women and the 50+ generation, you may be out of business soon.

Product Security Is Paramount

If you cannot prove that, your product is secure and hasn’t been tampered with, look out. Just look at some recent examples: poisoned dog food and contaminated milk. Consumers are getting more and more wary of where products come from and how secure they remain though the manufacturing process. Look for many innovations that prevent counterfeiting, tampering, contaminating or any product degradation.

Think Value VS Price

What is this product going to do for me? I’ll pay more if it solves a problem. A DuPont-sponsored survey on behalf of Cryovac found that 72 percent of US consumers are willing to pay more for improved food and beverage packaging that guarantees freshness. Wow that can move your product out of the commodity business in a hurry.

Product Saturation And Overkill

As more and more brands develop brand extensions, they are killing the category. Look at the growth of private label. Branded goods are going to have to work harder to capture a consumer’s attention. Advertising alone isn’t getting the job done. The demand for private labels will continue to escalate at the expense of branded products.

Niche Me Please

There are lots of new and exciting niche markets just waiting for your products. Don’t overlook opportunities to market to new consumers in unconventional ways. Last but not least don’t overlook the Internet for you products. Remember packaging considerations for marketing online are different from conventional outlets.

So if you want to package products consumers will buy keep the above in mind and: Look outside your industry for innovative packaging ideas. Don’t become so “industry” focused that you overlook opportunities in other markets. Get grounded in hot consumer trends. Don’t just package hype. Deliver value in the form of benefits consumers will derive from buying your product. Keep current on who is buying what and where and don’t rely on what worked in the past.



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