Use of connected packaging is expected to grow in 2023 due to its propensity for educating customers and improving brands’ sustainability credentials, a new study has found.
Creative technology studio Appetite Creative has released its second annual connected packaging survey. The research found that the contemporary tool for transforming regular packaging into a digital experience through the use of smartphones has surged in popularity in the past 12 months.
81% of brand executives stated they have used connected packaging, compared to just 54% in 2022’s report. Increased investment in digital marketing spend is also planned for 88% of those surveyed as opposed to 59% in 2022 – with part of this likely due to 92% of brands now considering connected packaging to be increasingly important to the packaging industry and 91% believing it will improve a business’s sustainability credentials.
Jenny Stanley, Managing Director at Appetite Creative, said: “Despite the cost-of-living crisis and global economic uncertainty, investment in connected packaging experiences continues to rise.
“No longer only a data collection tool, connected packaging is now a long-term customer relations and educational media channel, which helps companies navigate ever-changing sustainability requirements and inform product development and marketing decisions. Moving from a tipping point into mainstream usage this year, the perceived value of connected packaging has shifted to a business ‘must-have’.”
Connected packaging constraints
Despite its growing popularity, use of connected packaging still presents some pain points for businesses.
The biggest barriers for respondents are a lack of business capabilities and preparedness, price and complexity.
However, the results are in stark contrast to what was identified last year, when a third (29%) of respondents stated that connected packaging wasn’t a business requirement, a mindset found in only 7% of respondents this year.
Connected packaging benefits
Almost half (48%) of those surveyed consider connected packaging an important way to help educate customers of a brand’s offerings, and 57% view it as a useful tool for connecting with those consumers in a sustainable way.
Other valuable factors identified in the research include direct customer interaction (45%) and using connected packaging to inform product updates or marketing decisions (42%).
In fact, according to the study, 44% of brands perceive it to be becoming the main route of direct communication with consumers. Despite the industry's growing emphasis on the importance of data, just 29% of respondents viewed data collection requirements as important.
It’s worth noting that over a third (38%) surveyed believe connected packaging encourages customer loyalty, with gamification ranking in a similar position (36%), indicating playable ads are an important route to engaging with younger audiences, something which may become increasingly emphasised in future years.