The packaging industry is undergoing a significant transformation driven by the global pandemic, evolving digital processes, and growing demand for sustainable products. PKN speaks to Stephen Pratt, MD of Kurz Australia, about industry developments for the next decade.
There are five major trends likely to shape the industry over the next ten years, according to Stephen Pratt. A surge in online retailing leads the way, followed by shifts in consumer preferences, the decrease of margins, the rise of digitalisation, and the push to create greater customer value and better service by integrating technology into packaging.
Pratt says Kurz’s findings reveal that online retailing is strongly influencing brand and packaging development – back in 2014, the number of online shoppers worldwide was 1.32 billion, which has almost doubled, at the current rate of 2.14 billion.
“The pandemic has further accelerated this development,” says Pratt. “With Covid-19 still around, I see an ongoing increase in online purchasing.”
He cites data analyst IRI, which says e-commerce spending on consumer goods will account for more than $60 billion by the end of 2021.
“Designers must now design packaging and labels for an online audience,” he says.
Pratt emphasises the need for products to stand out from their competitors from the first glance, revealing that 70 per cent of online consumers shop in “micro-moments” while doing something else.
“Visual appeal attracts buyers and consumer studies show that glossy and tactile effects achieved through embossing and hot stamping work exceptionally well. According to market researchers at IPSOS, 72 per cent of American consumers say that product packaging design influences their purchase decision.
“Brand owners deliver briefs to designers based on consumer buying behaviour. The search for that one ‘killer’ design that stands out from the masses and offers opportunities for personalisation will become even more critical in the future. Continually striving to keep up with the ever-changing market environment, designers must come up with new ideas and be ahead of the competitors,” he says.
Pratt pointed to the development of Kurz’s Light Line hot stamping series as a good example of how fast trends can move.
“We were looking for a technology that delivered unique holographic effects and noticed that the colour shades that were all the rage at the time went out of favour before we could go to market, forcing a change in our plans and launch date,” he explains.
Surveys continuously reveal the impact that sustainability, recycling and transparency in manufacturing and packaging has on purchasing decisions, and according to Pratt, more than half of consumers say they would change their purchasing behaviour to minimise their negative impact on the environment; and about three-quarters of consumers say they are willing to pay more for sustainable packaging.
Pratt says this aspect is a key industry-shaping trend, but also one of its biggest challenges.
“On one hand, the industry wants to minimise the use of plastics, while on the other hand, there is an increased requirement for the development of recycling facilities and recycled materials. As far as embellishing is concerned, it should also be material-saving and wherever possible, not affect the recyclability of the packaging it decorates,” he adds.
Kurz was recently awarded the INGEDE certificate on deinkability, which attests the excellent recyclability of the company’s hot and cold transfer solutions.
This article has been published in the September-October print issue of PKN Packaging News, on page 56.