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Brief Published: 11 Jan 2016

Millennial Packaging Strategies

Some 80% of global millennials think packaging is an important factor when deciding what to buy

Four-fifths of millennials worldwide say packaging is an important factor when making purchasing decisions (Stora Enso, 2015). Ahead of our Packaging Futures 2016-17 Industry Trend, which will be published on January 12, we round up the millennial traits and attitudes brands should be aware of when shaping product packaging strategies for this demographic.  

  • Green Mindset: More than 70% of global millennials are environmentally conscious: they value brands and products that are sustainable and natural, and are also more likely to buy eco-friendly products than other generations. Millennials represent more than half of all consumers who check packaging for sustainable labelling (Stora Enso, 2015).  
  • Experience Seekers: It's important to create an exciting unboxing experience to appeal to this cohort. US millennials love experiences, whether they're in-store or app-based, according to a 2015 study from US digital agency Moosylvania.
  • Transience Sells: "Limited-edition packaging gets a millennial truly stoked. There's nothing they love more than having something that is unavailable to the rest of the world," Kevin Smith, founder of US agency Smashbrand, told Stylus.  
  • Self-Oriented: Bespoke packaging also appeals to this group. "Individuality and differentiation are important criteria for millennials. This aligns with the emerging use of personalisation in packaging," says Dominic Cakebread, UK consultant at packaging market research firm Smithers Pira.
  • Brand Disloyal: Millennials have a lower instinctive brand loyalty than older consumers and have grown up conversant with brands purchased over the internet, rather than in physical stores – according to Cakebread. "This makes good packaging design very important as a differentiator between brands when younger shoppers do venture into traditional retail environments," he explains.
  • Social Media-Savvy: Millennial consumers enjoy sharing positive experiences with their social media networks and brands should consider this a key tool in building online brand equity. "Visual social media platforms such as Instagram are a great way to spread the word about a product's new and exciting packaging format," says Nikki Clark, marketing manager for Europe at UK packaging manufacturer Graphic Packaging International.