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Personal Packaging Experience

Trends and industry outlook for the luxury packaging market

Standing out on a crowded retail shelf is more challenging than ever, as tech-savvy consumers demand a personalized brand experience that meets their expectations for luxury. Brands that master the trend will win big, as a new study by indus-try analysts at Smithers Pira forecasts that the luxury packaging market will grow into a $17.6 billion industry by 2019.

“Generally, consumers are willing to spend more if the packaging looks luxurious,” says Shelley Malham, market analyst at Smithers Pira, who is authoring the study “The Future of Luxury Packaging to 2019.”

Because luxury packaging looks a little different to everyone, the overriding trends encompass personal-ization, interaction and engagement with consumers.

Interaction

Some brands encourage digital interaction through QR codes and social media prompts on packaging. This year, Pernod Ricard began printing QR codes on alcoholic drinks that consumers can scan with smart-phones to learn how products were made.

But packaging doesn’t have to be immersed in technology to be interactive. Byron Racki, vice presi-dent of sales and marketing for specialty products at Neenah Paper, defines interaction as “the unboxing moment,” which Apple refined with iPhone packaging. The box was purposely designed to open slowly, build-ing anticipation — a much different experience than having the hassle of cutting open the plastic sheath around a new toy.

Personalization

New digital and 3-D printing technologies make per-sonalization easy by allowing customized production of holiday or special edition packaging. Personalized packaging is trending across the market, prompted in part by Absolut Vodka’s release of 4 million unique bottle designs, each marked with a number like a work of art.

“The personalized packaging trend is relevant to luxury packaging, as it engages with consumers and allows the product to be unique to that particular consumer, which is considered a luxury experience,” Malham says.

Branding

Racki sees differentiation opportunities in the luxury packaging basics, from premium materials to the qual-ity of printing techniques such as embossing, embel-lishing and foil stamping. Those core elements allow for unique shapes, colors and textures that set products apart on the shelves.

Luxury packaging is a great way for designers and printers to showcase their design and print capabili-ties. Designers can use innovative designs to not only differentiate products but to put their full artistic abilities on display. Printers can show how their technologies can help brand owners take a unique approach to selling products.

Whether colors and textures are extravagantly attention grabbing or sleekly minimalistic, innovative packaging must resonate with the overall brand experi-ence to be effective.

“Make sure whatever you’re doing is true to your brand,” Racki says. “The brands that are successful understand that connection. If you’re charging a pre-mium price for a premium product, the consumer sees that packaging as part of that product. When they’re not consistent with one another, that’s when you miss the opportunity.”