A recent survey of brand owners conducted by EskoArtwork, Adobe, and the International Packaging Institute (I.P.I.) revealed a number of important trends in packaging design, many of which are driven by changes in materials, computer technologies, and consumer expectations.
"Today's brand owners have more capability at their fingertips than ever before as they manage an increasingly complex packaging supply chain," says Prof. Dr. Ingo Büren, the Director of Science and Technology and Academic Director at the International Packaging Institute, located in Neuhausen/Switzerland. "This research validated much of our understanding of upcoming trends in the packaging market from the perspective of the brand owners, and provided new insight in several areas that will benefit the market as a whole."
In launching this survey, EskoArtwork's objective was to ensure that its product portfolio is appropriately structured to meet the emerging needs of brand owners, as well as to provide insight and guidance for its customers as they work to support brand owners in the packaging design process. Respondents from across Europe, of which 62% worked in companies with 500 or more employees globally, cooperated to the survey.
"We were pleased with the cross-section of respondents to the survey," says Dieter Janout, Global Director Brand Owners at EskoArtwork. "While most of the respondents represented global companies, half are operating in small marketing workgroups and are senior managers or professionals. We believe their responses provide an accurate portrayal of the current state of mind for most brand owners. This survey is very important to EskoArtwork as we work to bring to market the most functional and relevant solutions to support both brand owners and their packaging supply chain business partners."
The majority of brand owner respondents reported that prepress/repro work, creative surface design and creative structural design are currently outsourced; outsourcing of these functions is expected to remain the same or increase in the next few years, according to respondents. Forty percent of respondents reported having no design department in their company.
"As the packaging supply chain grows increasingly complex and as global competition and regulatory oversight continue to grow," adds Dr. Büren, "the ability for brand owners to efficiently collaborate with outsourced partners will gain in importance. Yet over half of respondents have never been involved in online design collaboration. This is one area in which we expect to see significant change in the near term. About a third of respondents believe online collaboration will become a widely used industry standard."
The survey also reaffirmed the growing popularity of and demand for, private labeling, with 54% of respondents reporting that their private label business accounted for up to 25% of revenues.
Other key survey findings included the following:
* Respondents strongly believed that the packaging's ability to make a product stand out on the shelf is paramount. Equally strongly held is a belief that packaging will increase in importance in its role in the marketing mix.
* 56% expect a significant increase in the use of digital prototyping either 'definitely' (12%) or 'probably' (44%).
* Only 15% said that providing sustainable packaging solutions was critical to or already addressed in their businesses today. Key drivers for sustainable packaging identified by respondents included consumers (70%), regulations and legislation (64%) and retail requirements (57%). 84% thought that 'environmental and sociological constraints' would require 'significant change' (63%) or 'new ways required' (21%).
* 50% thought that packaging design will adapt to the opportunities presented by the Internet as online shopping becomes more prevalent.
* 71% agreed that 'data consistency across products will have to be managed more effectively', 65% agree that 'data ownership' will need to be clarified more than it is at present'. This includes structured management of artwork and other digital assets, although the majority has neither of these capabilities in place today.
* Respondents gave a score of 7.8 out of 10 to the assertion that 'right-sized or optimized packaging sizes' will increase in importance over the next few years.
Brand owners and suppliers to the market can find more information on the dedicated EskoArtwork solutions by visiting www.esko.com/cpc.
In addition, a detailed article written by Dr. Büren, Revolutionizing the Packaging Supply Chain: Taking Technology to the Limit for Competitive Advantage, is available at www.esko.com/cpc.