Consumers can change their product preferences as well as their perception of packaging, which is why every company must keep up to date in both respects. Any phenomenon or event may have an influence on buyers’ tastes, revolutionising them completely.
Companies usually adopt meticulous strategies to foresee changes. They tend to analyse “generations”, i.e. groups of people with the same behaviour, individuals who have the same exposure to a certain phenomenon and share the same type of reaction.
Nowadays “Millennials” – the generation of those born between 1981 and 1995 – have become the focus of many studies and marketing campaigns. They constitute a large segment of the population -in 2020, 25% of people living in the USA and the EU will be Millennials- and it is the first generation in history to have been fully digitalised and to have reached adulthood in the new millennium. They are not digital natives like the people of “Generation Z”, also known as Network Generation, who are currently in their teens or twenties. Millennials know their way around digital technologies and are aware of their day-to-day consumption choices.
As far as packaging is concerned, Millennials prefer to use sustainable and recyclable materials and consider the origin of products very important. This behaviour is progressively permeating also other segments of the population. As a consequence, care for the environment and product traceability will become essential factors for companies even more than they already are.
Millennials also tend to rely on technology to make their life easier. For instance, in order to save time and money, they actively use e-commerce websites and the phenomenon of food delivery is becoming always more popular. If, on one hand, this is undermining the typical aesthetic component of packaging for marketing purposes, on the other there is a growth in the necessity to use thermally efficient materials, which can preserve the characteristics of the product until its delivery. Another consequence of these ongoing changes is the interest of Millennials in personalised and/or limited-edition packaging of some types of products (both food and non-food), which would allow them to have a unique shopping experience.