The Packaging Explosion
The packaging market has seen a huge amount of growth in recent months, specifically the digital packaging arena. But what, exactly, is driving this growth? Is it a passing fad, or something that is here to stay — and will only continue to get bigger?
The general consensus is that we have only seen the beginnings of the rise of digital packaging. Digital printing has steadily increased its share of the print market over the last few years, and packaging is just the next phase of that evolution.
“Like most printing, packaging is also becoming shorter-run, with greater customization,” says Dana E. Goodale, Director of Hardware and Software Solutions, Gerber Technology (Booth 1656). “High quality packaging prototyping — including graphic and structural elements — allows for greater client choice and more short-run finished products. Packaging is also being used to extend the product experience with QR code links to websites or integration of electronic messaging into packaging.”
“The growing demand for product differentiation will increase the need for more personalized packaging,” agrees Paul Bolduc, President, KBA-Kammann USA (Booth 4013). “The integration of cost-effective on-demand digital printing into existing production capabilities will enable companies to meet this opportunity.”
“Short run and regional customization for samples and prototypes” is driving this market,” notes David Conrad, Director of Sales and Marketing, Mutoh America (Booth 2545). “Being able to print on demand at a reasonable cost, and with little set up, is key to being able to react to the fast paced ever changing geographically unique markets.”
So shorter runs, that are more customized, are increasingly what brands are looking for in their packaging. Sound familiar? Direct mail, transpromo and other types of printing have all experienced this shift, so it was only a matter of time until print buyers and designers turned their eye toward the packaging of the products themselves, instead of just the marketing campaigns around them.
As technology continues to improve, expect that trend to continue growing. Right now, prototypes and region-specific packaging are the focus, but already there are brands experimenting with personalized, variable data packages that consumers can design themselves — and will want to keep, as opposed to tossing as soon as the product is gone. These niche cases will one day be the way mainstream packaging is handled, and printers who make it a priority to learn about this market and gain competencies in the technologies now will be well-positioned for this brave new packaging world.