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What are the packaging trends for 2021?

With the world shifting to online methods of work, leisure and shopping during the pandemic, packaging design was recognised even further as one of the major physical touch-points between customers and brands.

As we enter 2021, there is a need for brands to up the ante when it comes to enhancing customer experience and delivering a high-quality product for consumers, through effective packaging design. To help you with your next packaging project, we have put together the key packaging trends that are shaping 2021:

1. Storytelling with Packaging

With competition on a continuous rise, a well-designed package is not enough on it’s own. A great way that brands can further connect with customers is by creating packaging that helps tell their brand story. The combination of size, design, technical features, shape, as well as copy on the packaging can help tell a dynamic and engaging story about the brand.

A recent trend we have seen is the rise in demand for locally produced products and independent companies. According to Shopify, half of consumers (50%) surveyed look for independently-owned businesses to support for reasons including supporting entrepreneurship, buying unique products, and experiencing good customer service. Almost 57%are willing to shop at new brands or stores for the first time.  This is a huge opportunity for independent and local brands to help express their brand story through packaging.

2. Immersive Packaging

The use of Augmented Reality (AR) in packaging has gained immense attention with brands leveraging the benefits of advances in technology. It is a well known fact that  packaging is the first tool that builds brand recognition.

An innovative and unique design makes products easily recognisable among others. However, with competition on a continuous rise, a well-designed package is not enough on it’s own. In 2020, 32 percent of consumers used AR while shopping.

In the image above, we see the AR experience created by Bombay Sapphire, for customers using the bottle label as the activation point. 

The scanned label reveals an animation that represents the character of the brand in AR. Through this link, customers are able to view exclusive content published by the brand such as cocktail recipes and videos. By doing this, the packaging serves as a medium to bridge the gap between physical and digital marketing.

3. Earth-Friendly Packaging

Continuing from one of the biggest trends from 2020, eco-friendly packaging is still in the top packaging trends for 2021 and remains of growing importance in customers purchasing decisions. Even in the pre-pandemic era, conscious consumers had been pushing brands to adopt sustainable practises at all levels of their business.

As we enter into 2021, earth-friendly packaging alternatives are predicted to continue to be prominent with innovation in plastic alternatives. In Australia, the primary constituents of packaging consist of: paper and cardboard (34%); rigid plastic (27%); glass (11%); flexible plastic (10%); beverage cans (6%); other metals (9%), and other materials (3%).

With paper and cardboard leading the way in other developed countries such as the European Union and United States. According to Linchpin SEO, “Approximately 8 out of every 10 products sold in the EU and the US utilise cardboard as a packaging component, frequently in the form of cartons or boxes employed during transit”.

Neutral Earthy Tones

When it comes to colour trends, we have seen a shift away from the sharp black-and-white colour contrasts preferred a few years ago.

The predicted trends for 2021 include warm earthy tones, along with soft neutral colours in packaging. This can vary with the kind of product, however the overall preference in colour selection is predicted to stay along this spectrum.

5. Minimalism

With consumer behaviour moving towards the idea of “finding the calm in chaos”, what appeals to the eyes is clean, simple and clearly emphasised product packaging.

Along with the aesthetic benefits, minimalist packaging goes hand in hand with sustainability. Due to minimalist packaging requiring less material, it is perceived as a sustainable solution.

Another advantage that comes with minimalism in packaging, is the opportunity to have clear labelling of key features. Some of the features that can be highlighted are vegan, eco-friendly, recyclable etc.

6. e-Commerce Packaging

Due to the significant rise in e-commerce transactions, cardboard packaging and rigid boxes are predicted to have a large presence in the packaging industry. Along with it’s durability in transit, the popularity of this style is also owing to it’s sustainable nature. Being paper-based, this style is most suitable for FMCG packaging and POS Displays.

As part of our range of e-commerce packaging solutions, we also have a biodegradable satchel that are made from 100% compostable PLA+PBAT, derived from starch raw materials such as renewable plant resources.

There are endless possibilities in packaging and we are excited to help you brainstorm on how to capitalise on the packaging trends for 2021 listed above. We at UPD can help you choose the right substrates and print methods to create packaging that is made of high-quality materials and contains an engaging design.

If you are looking for attention-grabbing packaging, please reach out to one of our packaging experts at [email protected]. We are happy to schedule a quick consult and would love to hear more about your packaging project for 2021!