Structural Packaging Impacts Repeat Purchase

According to a new MeadWestvaco consumer satisfaction study, “Packaging Matters,” the role of packaging in product satisfaction as consumers purchase, transport, use and dispose of products, packaging satisfaction can have a significant impact on purchase intent and repeat purchase, and there is a low level of satisfaction once consumers leave the store and rely on the structural or functional features of the package at home or on-the-go.

The study shows that when it comes to purchase intent and product satisfaction, packaging does matter:

  • 64% of consumers will sometimes buy a product off the shelf without prior knowledge of it
  • 72% rarely use mobile devices to research a product while shopping
  • Quality (85%) and price (67%) are reported as the most important factors contributing to overall product satisfaction
  • Consumers report little variance in importance between a product’s brand (12%) and packaging (10%)

Fewer than 20% of U.S. consumers report they are “very satisfied” with product packaging, with the least amount of satisfaction from carry-out food containers and beauty care product packaging.

Brian Richard, director, Consumer & Customer Insights, MWV, says “The research... proves that packaging is one of the most powerful tools in the marketing communications mix... but... packaging does not delight consumers...”

The study identified the importance of different packaging attributes compared to their perceived performance.

  • Of the 15 packaging attributes studied, only a small percentage of consumers ranked shelf appeal, or the product’s “attractiveness” and “distinctiveness,” as ”very important” features to their satisfaction (6% and 10%, respectively)
  • Attractiveness and distinctiveness his is where brands were performing best, with performance exceeding importance. While brands are generally pleasing consumers during the shopping experience, satisfaction drops dramatically when product packaging is relied upon for transport and storage and then when the product is used and reused

The largest satisfaction gaps across categories all relate to the structural features or functionality of the packaging, concludes the report. In terms of importance, 74% of consumers want packaging that protects from breaking or spilling 72% want packaging that maintains product integrity, and 66% want to get the entire product out of the package.

Steve Kazanjian, vice president, Global Creative, MWV, says “Packaging satisfaction decreases significantly after consumers leave the store... (during) transporting, storing and using the product... Structural packaging features... (are) the most critical area for brands to make improvements to drive consumer satisfaction...”

Kazanjian added. “As more retail migrates online... a disappointed consumer can switch brands with one click... packaging is increasingly important... for brand owners to connect with their consumers at touch points throughout the product’s lifecycle...”

Results of the study reveal a significant variance across a variety of demographics and categories. For example:

  • Consumers ages 18-24 are most satisfied with packaging (22%)
  • Middle-class consumers are the least satisfied with packaging (17%)
  • Consumers are most satisfied with carbonated soft drink packaging (24%) and least satisfied with carry-out packaging (11%)

For more information about Packaging Matters: Packaging Satisfaction Study, please visit here.

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