MWV Launches Third Annual Packaging Matters Study

MeadWestvaco Corp., Richmond, Va., USA, launched Packaging Matters™ this past week, the company’s third annual study of the impact of packaging on product satisfaction and consumer purchasing behavior. This year, Packaging Matters examined the attitudes of consumers in five markets (Brazil, China, Germany, France, and the U.S.) across 11 FMCG product categories (food, beverage, personal care, etc.), offering brand managers key insights on how to increase the impact of packaging for their business.

Packaging Matters (PMs) data show packaging continues to hold significant importance for global consumer satisfaction with a strong link to purchase intent and brand loyalty. While a majority says new packaging is headed in the right direction, there are significant current gaps between the importance of product packaging and how brands are meeting consumer needs. Consumers are clear on how to close this gap: with targeted innovations related to functionality and safety.

"This year’s study continued to emphasize the strong link between packaging satisfaction and consumer purchasing behavior. Packaging plays a key role in brand perception, product trial, and repeat purchase," said Pete Durette, SVP, MWV. "Consumers in this year’s study indicated that brands are moving in the right direction in terms of how packaging is evolving. That being said, consumers continue to want more from packaging, especially when it comes to function and safety. Brands, and their packaging partners, have a critical opportunity to build on this positive momentum with continued innovations that will make a real impact on satisfaction and behavior."

PMs data show a strong correlation between packaging satisfaction and the consumer behaviors that brands want. Consumers who are completely satisfied with packaging engage in sought-after purchase behaviors more often. These consumers are more likely than their less satisfied peers to purchase and use products frequently (57% vs. 47%), shop frequently both in-store and online (24% vs. 17%), and try something new because of packaging (44% vs. 36%).

Researchers found a significant increase in importance in the U.S. (18% up to 24%) and a slight rise in China (38% up to 39%).

In geographic distribution, packaging is most important to consumers in developing markets (China and Brazil), where trust in the supply chain is not as strong as in developed markets (France, Germany, and the U.S.)

Across the 11 categories surveyed, packaging has the greatest impact on purchase decision for refrigerated/frozen food, beauty/personal care/fragrance, and take-out food/beverage. More than 1 in 3 consumers say packaging is very or extremely impactful to their purchase intent in these categories.

Online vs. in-store shopping: When it comes to retail channels, packaging is considered more important to in-store purchases (57%) than online purchases (43%), but that gap is closer than some might think. China was the only country in which a majority of consumers (65%) say packaging is more important for online purchases. Those who say packaging is very or extremely important to their satisfaction are also more likely to increase the frequency they shop online in the future.

"For those of us in the industry who see the impact of packaging every day, we are pleased to confirm that consumers consider packaging important to their product satisfaction," said Tracy Doherty, senior director, marketing and innovation, MWV. "The categories where consumers report packaging as having the biggest impact on their purchasing behavior, however, also have the lowest levels of satisfaction. The question is: how can we close that gap? We have a responsibility to leverage the data and figure out how brands can do even better."

PMs data show 83% of global consumers are at least moderately satisfied with packaging, but just over 1 in 10 is completely satisfied, leaving an opportunity for brands. Compared with last year, satisfaction increased 3% in the U.S. and dipped 2% in China, where safety has been a major concern. When it comes to their future outlook for packaging, consumers are optimistic. More than 77% believe brands are headed in the right direction when it comes to new trends in packaging.

"Packaging is one of the many tools available to a brand manager. Our data confirms that it is also one of the most effective. Consumers who are completely satisfied with packaging are more likely to buy consumer products more often and have a favorable view of the brand. To stay ahead of the curve in this rapidly evolving and competitive global FMCG marketplace, brands have a real opportunity to differentiate their products and impact purchase behavior by increasing consumer satisfaction with packaging."

Packaging Matters is MWV's annual study of consumer satisfaction with packaging. This year’s research examined the impact of packaging on consumer product satisfaction and purchasing behavior across 11 product categories among 5,075 consumers in five global markets.