As Augmented reality and the virtual world begin to take over, how do traditional retailers and co-packers remain relevant?
“The ability to interact with a product is not simply a gimmick or a novelty but is fast becoming a driver of consumer loyalty and sales growth. In fact, business consultants Frost and Sullivan have projected that by 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as a key brand differentiator.”
According to Smithers Pira (smitherspira.com), the combined active and intelligent packaging market is forecast to grow at an annual average rate of 5.9 percent, hitting $7.56 billion by 2023. Although active packaging is a mature market and shows slower growth, its counterpart is at a developmental stage. The research firm says that five trends are pushing brands toward intelligent packaging:
- Consumer engagement through smart packaging
- Smart phones for brand protection
- Printed electronics for packaging
- Food waste and food energy
- Pharmaceuticals traceability regulation
AIPI’s Manly adds that brands are realizing the potential of their packaging as a marketing tool. “We see a lot more AR and VR coming on stream in 2019. With Apple’s new phones now being NFC-enabled, this whole area is set to explode as the number of users is huge and global.”
The expansion of e-commerce is making it easier to sell fake products, which means the need to authenticate products is even greater, he says. The regulatory landscape is also changing, as the FDA and DCA laws come into force in the EU and USA this year.
The AIPI has seen more interest from retailers regarding active packaging, as the universal need for less waste grows and the regulators start to “circle the wagons.” According to Manly, the biggest opportunity is in changing the way consumers use packaging and engage with the product (brand) through it. The following are a few examples of active and intelligent packaging solutions on the market today.