Packaging Trends to look out for in 2021

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What can we expect from packaging in 2021? We take a look at some areas that we believe will trend in 2021.

Eco Friendly Packaging

Over the past few years there has been an on-going trend in the use of eco-friendly packaging. Packaging is up there with the worst in terms of contributors to global warming and its chain of effects on the planet. The trend of using sustainable packaging will continue this year and for the future, as more businesses try to explore more ways to be eco-friendly with their packaging.

Companies will aim to use biodegradable, compostable or recycled materials in their packaging design, as customers have become more aware of packaging waste and sustainability. Companies taking this approach will find themselves standing out and creating a positive image for their brand.

With the new plastic tax coming into play in 2022, it makes sense for companies to start reducing the amount of damaging materials being used sooner rather than later.

Ecommerce Packaging

With the pandemic causing a rise in ecommerce last year, we can only expect a continued increase of online sales continuing this year and for the foreseeable future. As such, companies need to continue to ensure that they use sustainable packaging that not only plays to the user experience but is practical to keep the product safe from damage too.

With the temporary loss of in-store experiences, there has been a drive towards producing better ecommerce packaging. An enhanced packaging experience will help to uplift the customer especially in a time that is described to be hard for many, where relationships and contact with people are supressed. Personalisation is one way to introduce an attempt of relationship building with the customer. A more personalised experience for the customer will add a special touch. According to Researchscape International and Evergage, Inc. (2019), 98% of marketers agreed that personalisation helps to advance customer relationships. 70% of marketers claim personalisation has a pivotal impact on the customer experience and loyalty.

Clear Messaging

If you put yourself in a customers shoes, there will be times where you have walked up and down trying to find a particular product only to annoyingly realise it had been in arms reach from where you began searching!

For many customers even before the pandemic, convenience has been a key factor for the customers ideal shopping trip. By adapting a trend to adhere to the current climate, we can expect products to have an easy on the eye design, with clear messaging and description of the product. This will help to increase customer convenience and this will also be benefiting the company who has clear and precise messaging on their packaging, making themselves easily identifiable, making no mistake in the customers choice and avoiding the settlement for an alternative product.

Hygienic Packaging

The pandemic has undoubtedly brought some anxiety to customers when it comes to hygiene especially when handling products, whether that’s in store, at the local supermarkets, or from an online order delivered at your door. Many customers now seem to have an urge to take extra precautions by wiping down packaging with disinfectant and hand sanitizing to put their mind at ease.

Early on in the pandemic it was brought to public knowledge that the virus could remain on different surfaces for different amounts of time. It was discovered that the most porous materials such as cardboard and paper were amongst the materials that would be contaminated for the shortest amount of time. This has been encouraging for most businesses looking at changing their current packaging for more porous materials if this made sense for their products suitability. This helps to lessen the anxiety of the customers and prevent any potential spread of bacteria.

There are a few companies that are looking into Antimicrobial alternatives which is said to be highly resistant to carrying viruses. Packaging giants DS Smith have partnered with Touchguard to discover a range of packaging with Antimicrobial qualities such as a Touchguard coating that ensures the prevention of harmful bacteria living on packaging surfaces. This is expected to rollout this year and many companies would look to introduce this as a feature to their current line of packaging.


The events in the last year have been drastic and life changing to say the least, therefore the packaging industry and businesses around the world have had to quickly adapt to keep up with the the current climate while also paying attention to the long term impacts. The trends mentioned above will likely play a huge part in the evolution of packaging for the near future and years to come.

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