5 Retail Packaging Design Trends In 2021

What is retail packaging design? 

Retail packaging design refers to the entire process of concepting and planning an efficient and optimized package for a product to be sold in stores or on e-commerce sites. Retail packaging, also known as product packaging, not only protects the product and makes it easier and less expensive to transport, it is often the first form of communication between a brand and the consumer in the retail space. It can differentiate a brand from its competitors and positively affect customer buying decisions.

Packaging design is an essential step in the product design and retail marketing process. The aesthetics of a product’s retail packaging can have a direct impact on whether the product is purchased or not. Often, retailers of product manufacturers underestimate the effect of packaging on their business, and it costs them heavily. In today’s world of cut-throat consumerism and saturation of products, retail packaging design can make or break the deal. 

Below, you’ll find a few retail packaging design trends you can expect in 2021: 

1. Recyclability: With increased consumer awareness around sustainability and corporate social responsibility, recyclability has quickly caught on as a distinctive trend. Even established and upscale brands like Johnny Walker are looking to revamp their liquor bottle design with more eco-friendly material. The company’s scotch whiskey will soon be sold in paper-based, plastic-free bottles rather than glass ones. While glass is also recyclable, paper-based products are cheaper to manufacture and generally have a lower carbon footprint since they are lighter and use less fuel in shipping.

2. Biodegradability: Sustainable packaging demands innovation, especially packaging that makes it easy for buyers to recycle or reuse packaging in eco-friendly ways. That’s exactly what some brands have done, such as Leef’s plantable CBD packaging that grows cherry tomatoes, and Pangea Organics’ plantable soap packaging containing organic seeds like basil and amaranth. Both companies take biodegradability one step further by turning packaging waste into a bonus garden. 

3. Waste Reduction: Consumers don’t just want eco-friendly packaging; they want to know that the packaging was manufactured sustainably as well. Optimizing packaging operations by cutting down on materials and improving product box design to reduce waste can close the gap between sustainability and the bottom line. Take a leaf out of Adidas’s book and check out how they’ve reduced waste and embraced sustainable packaging practices.

4. Minimalism: When it comes to aesthetics, many consumers have forsaken over-the-top branding and embraced honest, direct communication without the frills, reflective of minimalist trends in retail packaging design. Whether it be coffee bag design or chocolate packaging, minimalism in packaging has become increasingly more popular, and it’s perfect for brands looking to communicate a high-end or luxury feel. 

5. Interactive packaging: Interactive packaging has to be one of the most creative packaging ideas of the year and a hot trend for 2021. The use of augmented reality and QR codes can transform any label, box, or brand into a fun, innovative, and interactive solution that draws in customers and builds brand appeal. One of the most successful examples of smart packaging comes from 19 Crimes, a Australian wine company with labels that come to life with a phone camera. Most recently, 19 Crimes released a Snoop Dog Cali Red bottle, where the legendary and infamous rapper will speak to you as you sip the brand’s wine. 

Why does retail packaging design matter?

Great retail packaging design solves problems in new ways. It reflects the target demographic of the product, as well as the core beliefs of a brand. No matter what the industry is, brands with innovative, creative packaging solutions are leading the way towards a more sustainable future. For a more detailed look at these retail packaging design trends and examples from many different industries, be sure to check out this in-depth list of product packaging design trends in 2021

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