Re-evaluating luxury packaging design for the modern consumer market

Re-evaluating luxury packaging design for the modern consumer market

26 Nov 2018 --- Luxury packaging is a growing but increasingly competitive market. Luxury is often associated with elegance and expense, and when it comes to luxury packaging, companies focus on delivering products wrapped in style, innovative design and materials which provide a luxurious feel. Now, consumer demands are higher than ever, and a well-rounded product must do more to deliver on both content as well as exterior. Suppliers are exploring new and innovative ways to differentiate luxury packaging through enhanced aesthetics, increased sustainability and new connective capabilities, taking the market-focus beyond elegance and into new frontiers.

Luxury Packaging Expert Neil Farmer presented on trends in the luxury packaging market during Packaging Innovations/Luxury Packaging 2018 earlier this year in London. Farmer highlighted that suppliers are adding value to packaging by way of personalization, new digital design techniques and improved sustainability in order to address the challenge of differentiation in an arena where new technologies and processes have enabled cheaper production and greater efficiency, and therefore, undercut prices in the market. 

Click to EnlargeHarvey Nichols: Packaging designed for a second life Built to last
The modern day consumer is increasingly attracted to packaging that is environmentally friendly but also reusable.

Smith&+Village has unveiled a stylish rebrand of the Harvey Nichols food collection, which had stood untouched since its launch in 1994. The rebranding sought to project the image of the iconic store itself and used “Ab Fab” fashion of the 1990s as its inspiration. 

Luxury packaging that can be reused includes shiny tins repurposed as storage for coffee or tea, biscuit boxes that double as a jewelry case and even premium paper packages used as wrapping paper.

“The skill of creating successful luxury packaging lies in finding the perfect balance between function and a fashionable, desirable form. Customers want to be delighted, not only by the visual aesthetics of a piece of luxury packaging but also by its functionality, so packs that work in a new or unusual way are going to be winners,” Richard Village, Smith&+Village Director, tells PackagingInsights.

Style matters
Consumers may associate themselves with the products they buy and in the eyes of aesthetically demanding consumers, products may even need to be “coated” in art to pique their interest. 

Chocolate and tea are among the most used products when it comes to premium packaging and luxury specialty lines. Packaging can be embellished with the works of acclaimed artists to add value, style and sophistication. Click to EnlargeCoco's Chocolate, with artworks by Francois Mangeol

“We collaborate with independent artists on packaging design. Our Christmas bar wrappers are artworks by Francois Mangeol. We love bold and daring designs that excite, stimulate and inspire,” Coco’s Chocolatier spokesperson tells PackagingInsights, on their Christmas chocolate bars launch. 

Christmas packaging is a recurring opportunity for brands to release luxurious packaging. Simple products wrapped in the right packaging can become a luxurious gift. 

For example, Nestlé partnered with Sainsbury’s to launch a personalized tin for Quality Street chocolates this Christmas. The partnership has cited the success of last year’s launch of a personalized tin and said that this year’s offer is even “bigger and better” as the promotion will run in over ten times more locations than last year, making it easier for consumers to pick up the bespoke Christmas tin.

The marketable potential of luxury design is vast and may cater to a wide variety of products and tastes. A surge in minimalist packaging design that conveys luxury in its simplicity is also seen across products that want to make sophistication a selling point.

“Packaging design is always the first aspect of a product that customers see before even trying the product. In our case, we wanted the packaging of our product to reflect the passion, attention to detail and quality it holds in a sophisticated, clean way,” says Creteleon Founder, George Katrakis, on the company's minimalist bottle for premium quality olive oil. 

SClick to EnlargeCreteleon premium quality olive oilustainable luxury
Sustainability and development of circular economies are just as significant drivers in luxury packaging design as aesthetics. Consumers are less concerned by purchasing products that are packaged in more sustainable materials even if it can come at a higher price. Certain materials are more popular among consumers for their natural feel and recyclable attributes, such as wood, paper and fabric.

Paper and paperboard have witnessed somewhat of a resurgence, fueled by anti-plastic sentiment and a growing global demand for designed-in recyclability. Not only is paper a naturally renewable, recyclable and compostable material, it can also add value to packaging with the appearance of “naturalness” in an increasingly eco-conscious consumer market. Regarding shelf-appeal, paper also provides an excellent printing substrate with potential for high-quality graphics to effectively communicate brand values (and sustainability credentials).

“The most important design trends, quite rightly, center around low impact, sustainable packaging solutions. New materials mean new opportunities and new ways of thinking for packaging designers,” Richard Village adds.

Innova Market Insights data shows that consumers are increasingly concerned by the environmental sustainability of the products, and packaging, they purchase. For example, 36 percent of German consumers consider bio-based and/or biodegradable/compostable to be important in food & beverage products (2015 consumer study). Manufacturers have responded to consumer calls. Innova Market Insights reports +70 percent CAGR in food & beverage launches featuring ethical-packaging claims from 2011 to 2016 and +34 percent CAGR in food & beverage launches featuring biodegradable/compostable claims (2012-2016, global).

New Look
Last but not least, a luxurious redesign gives the customers a fresh perspective on the product and one that may drive sales and generate brand loyalty.

For example, earlier this year, Harrogate Water unveiled a “daring and disruptive” shrink wrap design to give standout appeal to its retail multipacks. The new style borrows from the brand’s artistic roots to create something design-led and avant-garde with abstract bursts of color.

By Kristiana Lalou

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