‘Connected packaging’ popularity expected to surge in 2023

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Smartphones scanning product details

Do you ever use your smartphone to scan products so you can find out more about them? You do? Well, in which case you are one of an increasingly large group of people using mobile technology to learn more about a company – and what they sell.

It’s known as ‘connected packaging’ and it’s popularity is set to soar over the course of the next few months.

To highlight the growth in the sector, creative technology studio Appetite Creative has just released results from its second annual connected packaging survey. 

It’s findings show that connected packaging has experienced a rise in popularity in the last 12 months, with over four-fifths (81%) of those surveyed stating they have used connected packaging. This is compared to just over half (54%) in 2022.

The biggest barrier for almost half of respondents is lack of business capabilities and preparedness (48%), price (20%) and complexity (11%). 

It’s a stark contrast from the results in 2022 when a third (29%) stated it wasn’t a business requirement – a mindset found in only 7% of respondents this year.

Almost half (48%) consider connected packaging important to help educate customers, which paints a similar picture seen in last year’s survey. 

Other valuable factors this year included direct customer interaction (45%) and using connected packaging to inform product updates or marketing decisions (42%). 

Increased investment in digital marketing

Data collection requirements lagged behind with a third (29%) of those surveyed considering it important. Increased investment in digital marketing spend is planned in 2023 by 88% of those surveyed. This is compared to a figure of 59% in 2022. 

Almost half of respondents (42%) said businesses plan to increase spend on connected packaging campaigns by between $31,000 to $50,000. This is more than double seen back in 2022, when 40% planned to increase investment by less than $18,000.

Over four-fifths (88%) claim to be planning a connected packaging campaign this year and the majority (92%) of respondents consider connected packaging to be increasingly important to the packaging industry in the next 12 months and beyond. 

These numbers have ticked up year on year, with only two thirds (59%) in 2022 citing plans for a connected packaging campaign and 85% considered it important for the industry.

Connected packaging is deemed increasingly important as a sustainable way to connect with and educate customers (57%) and it is perceived by almost half (44%) to be becoming the main route to communicate directly with customers. 

More than one third (38%) surveyed believe it encourages customer loyalty, with gamification ranking in a similar position (36%) indicating playable advertisements are an important route to engaging with younger audiences.

Pressures of sustainability

Increased sustainability pressures on packaging producers and the introduction of new EU packaging laws have positively impacted the perceived value of connected packaging. 

The majority (91%) of respondents agree that it helps to improve the sustainability credentials of a company, versus 80% in 2022.

New survey questions added this year looked at gamification in marketing campaigns, a seemingly popular connected experience tool with 70% claiming to use or consider using it. 

Almost two-thirds (57%) adopted traditional mobile games, a third (31%) used augmented reality games and 11% shared a quiz through a connected packaging experience. 

Almost half (48%) used gamification to promote a new product or drive sales, 17% to data collect and 15% to improve brand recognition.

‘Despite the cost-of-living crisis and global economic uncertainty, investment in connected packaging experiences continues to rise,’ says Jenny Stanley, Managing Director at Appetite Creative. 

‘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.’

Imagery shows connected packaging and photography has been supplied courtesy of Fair Communications.


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