Business trends move fast, not only with product innovations but the packages used to protect and preserve them throughout supply chains. Global economies will continue to expand, and competition will ramp up as consumer preferences evolve.
The pressure is on wholesale suppliers to stay ahead of packaging trends to keep retailers happy with the latest and greatest package solutions. These trends aren’t always apparent and require a glimpse into the future, but these extra insights can pay off big long-term.
Let’s outline how packaging trends are changing right now, what types of packaging materials are best suited to meet these demands, and what brands can do to position themselves for success in the years ahead.
How Are Packaging Trends Changing?
Some things never change in the world of product packaging from a wholesaler’s perspective. B2B best practices still apply across the board. Retailers expect consistency in the products they receive in terms of quality and cost-effectiveness.
With that said, wholesale suppliers should know about the following packaging design trends and how they’re changing now, as well as advancements and what to expect moving forward.
Colors are key to catching the eye and establishing a unique brand identity in crowded markets like snacks, household items, personal care, and cosmetics. Even in a digital marketplace, customers take note of colors on packages, which influences what they buy.
Wholesalers have a chance to set products apart with bold colors and attract more attention from retailers and customers alike. Packaging should have highly customized coloring options and distinctive finishes like gloss or matte.
Retailers are now more discerning about the appearance of text and fonts on packages, as typeface or typography impacts sales in a big way. Subtle decisions influence how a brand vision is expressed and perceived by the public.
Furthermore, fonts should be sized correctly for sufficient visibility online and in-person, with clarity in small print as well. Mistakes here can be a disqualifier for any buyer.
Suppliers can no longer ignore typeface as a packaging design element, and instead, make it a primary consideration when sourcing and structuring their packaging solutions around a new product. Customers can’t resist an eye-catching font.
As retailers and customers grow more aware of climate change and other environmental concerns, wholesalers must respond in turn with more sustainable packaging at every opportunity.
Customer preferences are clearly shifting towards recyclable materials and reusable packages, and it won’t be long before regulators start laying down restrictions.
The best recyclable packages offer all the benefits you’d expect from high-grade protective materials, but with a reduced carbon footprint and lower environmental impact overall.
The format of a package determines how products are protected, presented, and conveyed to the consumer. These factors matter more than before, with retailers demanding nothing less than the “complete package” when sourcing from wholesalers.
Formats now must be thoughtful, functional, and reflect the personality of the brand. From casual to luxury and everything between, packing should fit the brand.
The size and shape of a package are just the beginning. Materials, construction, and special features like compartments, child-resistance, and interactive elements are also key to the user experience and product needs and should complement a brand’s story.
For many brands, a stripped-down, bare-bones look and feel is the right choice for packaging. Wholesalers must recognize that the minimalist design trend is now mainstream, and a significant segment of customers are willing to pay more for it.
The most effective minimalist packaging is sleek, lightweight, and simplified to perfection, putting the focus on the product while still providing protection and containment.
On the other end of the spectrum, some brands are thriving using maximalist packaging. These brands go over the top with features, colors, extras, and memorable unboxing experiences.
Maxing out packaging means spending more on moving parts and premium design features, but the increased interest and social media hype can more than make up for those costs. With items like gifts and luxury goods, the maximalist approach may indeed pay off.
Brands now personalize their products to appeal to more targeted demographics, requiring wholesalers to stay in lock-step with retailers and create custom packaging at a rapid pace.
Personalization elements can include custom text, colors, and other design components that appeal to individuals and work in tandem with promotions.
Suppliers that can create a quick and reliable pipeline of custom packaging for retailers stand to benefit greatly moving forward.
Retailers need to foster customer relationships through trust, which demands more transparency through labeling and communication via packaging.
In the food industry, this means more detailed text and staying in line with compliance standards for each sector. Medical supplies and personal care items are moving in the same direction, with more transparent practices being established.
If wholesalers can connect with trusted packaging experts and handle these labeling needs up front, it takes the pressure off retailers, facilitating stronger business partnerships.
Most packaging methods still use rigid materials like paperboard and hard plastic, but flexible packaging is rapidly gaining popularity due to ease in shipping and customization. Materials like LDPE and BOPET (Mylar) offer numerous benefits for wholesalers, retailers, and customers.
This is the perfect time for wholesalers to look into flexible packaging solutions from leaders like Dymapak, and gain a competitive edge by embracing these materials and formats.
Why Is Flexible Packaging So Popular?
The hype surrounding flexible packaging is real, but what makes this such a popular solution for wholesalers and retailers? Simply put, flexible packaging checks all the boxes listed above, giving brands the perfect platform to jump ahead in the next generation of packaging industry trends.
Here’s a closer look at what flexible packaging can accomplish in a practical sense.
Consider all the extra shipping, storage, and shelf space wasted by inflexible packaging like cardboard and metal containers. If wholesalers can utilize flexible packages to save space, and not compromise protective qualities, it’s a win for everyone involved.
Reduced space requirements add up to more profits for retailers and happier customers that can store more goods at home.
Legacy packaging solutions may be time-tested, but they aren’t as customizable compared to new flexible alternatives.
Wholesale suppliers can connect with packaging innovators like Dymapak to create precisely customized bags and pouches that meet their exact specifications, rather than working around the limitations of rigid containers.
With more customization potential, brands can make their vision a reality more accurately and deliver winning products each time.
Modern flex packaging solutions are more convenient across the board, from navigating supply chains to store shelves, shopping carts, and beyond.
Barrier properties tend to be stronger than rigid packaging, creating more resilient products that last longer and lead to greater profits. Retailers recognize flexible packaging as the more convenient option, and are now willing to leave rigid containers behind.
Finally, customers are more familiar with flexible packaging, having experienced the convenience factor for themselves.
The Bottom Line
There’s no slowing down the packaging trends that have already gained momentum, as outlined here. Instead of trying to turn back the clock, wholesalers need to think two steps ahead and anticipate the needs of retailers and shoppers alike.
With the right combination of strategy, partnerships, customization, and execution, wholesale suppliers will emerge victorious by jumping on these packaging trends immediately. Use this guide as a reference and see how you can utilize the best of what next-gen packaging offers.