Nearly all packaging professionals use the internet to aid or facilitate some of their purchases, whether it be for finding appropriate suppliers or products, or for comparison shopping.
Three forms of business research are commonly used to develop, improve and monitor the effectiveness of consumer goods packaging. The first of these is market research, which provides information about specific product categories, like food, consumer electronics or cleaning products.
The second is industry research, which delves into the packaging industry itself. Research reports in this category track the growth of PET resin shipments, for example, or regional expansion of aseptic packaging.
Market and industry research reports may evaluate market size and growth rate over a period of years; discuss issues driving change in the market or industry; describe trends, opportunities and threats (including regulatory changes); and provide information on leading vendors.
The third type of packaging research focuses on consumer attitudes and behavior. A focus group—in which consumers talk about their reaction to products and packaging—is an example of consumer research.
Also in the category of consumer research are: one-on-one interviews with consumers, online surveys, ergonomic studies to see how consumers physically interact with packages and in-store studies to examine consumer purchasing behavior. The Association for Consumer Research takes a scholarly approach to the subject.