With the introduction of online shopping and a greater awareness of our responsibility to our environment, consumer spending habits have changed dramatically since the almost bygone era of in-store shopping only. Brands are using social media more than ever to engage on a personal level in order to spur spending and consumer loyalty. These shifting trends also affect the packaging industry, as 2017 sees new innovations and consumer needs that require inventive design philosophies.

Gone are the days when packaging was just wrapping a product and defining it with a logo. Today, consumers are expecting eco-conscious innovations that stand out on an endless shelf of similar products. According to Global CSR research, a strong percentage of consumers like to know that the brand they are supporting, in turn supports the environment and that they are contributing to a greater cause when making a purchase.

Intelligent design is saving lives

Product packaging in 2017 is not only saving the planet, but is also saving lives. Norway has adopted standardised tobacco packaging to clamp down on any form of tobacco advertising to young and impressionable consumers.

Also saving lives is a new smart packaging for tetanus vaccines. According to weforum.org “The World Health Organization recommends that tetanus vaccines are stored in temperatures from 2-8°C, otherwise the vaccine might become not only unusable, but a health hazard.” However, new smart packaging for these vaccines enables temperature stability for up to five days. This helps with transportation to outlying areas and lengthens tight time constraints to get these life-saving vaccines to their destinations.

Designs must suit the e-commerce market

With the increasing global popularity of e-commerce, brands need to be aware of how their packaging transfers from real-time across different platforms. As mobile takes over as the preferred online purchasing device, brands need to look at their designs and make necessary changes to ensure that they don’t lose aesthetics when appealing to online consumers wrapped up in the Internet of Things. In addition, consumers have become accustomed to expecting brand recognition through unique designs that also help formulate engagement, particularly online.

Branding needs not only to represent a certain product, but also convey a message of camaraderie within the brand’s community to leverage trust and create loyalty.