Millennials and Their Packaging Preferences

This was originally posted by Tim Iverson on LinkedIn. Be sure to follow Provident.

Millennials word on a product or package box to illustrate marketing and advertising to the youth in Generation YMillennials are just growing into their purchasing power. Traditionally considered born between the years of 1980 and 1999, they currently spend $600 billion every year. This is in spite of their slow transition into adulthood – millennials are late to marry, late to have children, late to home ownership – and their high levels of debt compared to other generations.

Last year however started off a new millennial trend. Between 2015 and 2045 the generation will be receiving their peak earrings and thus be at their peak purchasing power. Accenture is predicting a 133% increase between 2015 and 2020, predicting millennials will spend $1.4 trillion annually and make up 30% of retail sales. There has never been a more important time to target millennials in every product sector – from toilet paper to candy to luggage.

Since millennials are characterized as having short attention spans and multitasking on their phones while shopping, it’s important to capture their attention immediately. Especially since millennials have no qualms paying premium for a product that aligns with their needs and wants. They prefer quality products.

The key is to have packaging that speaks to millennial motivations. As Ian Lennon told Packaging Strategies, as a group they’re more open to new packaging, seek convenience, and prefer to purchase from brands who share their causes and values. The most prominent cause is saving the environment. Their values include authenticity, the capacity for co-creation with other users or the brand, and the ability to show their individualism.

Taken together and profiled, it’s not surprising that millennials gravitate to pouch packaging. It’s new and different, something that connects to both their image desires and a sense of childhood nostalgia. After all, this is the generation who grew up drinking Capri-Sun and slurping Go-Gurt. More importantly, pouches can have features that add convenience – handles, zippers and other resealable options, and compressibility for space saving. Pouches are considered by the public to retain the freshness of a food product, ensuring a quality taste for longer. They are closely tied to the environment – pouches typically use less material then their more rigid cousins and can be make from recyclable materials. In fact, please do make your packaging recyclable. It’s on the list of packaging benefits and features millennials are willing to pay more for.

When targeting this generation, simply having the right package design will not be enough. Pouches are consistently increasing their presence on the shelves in retail stores and soon will no longer be a differentiable characteristic. It’s also required to take a look at your labels.

Like other generations, millennials most commonly read nutritional info, such as calories and serving size, in addition to preparation instructions and health claims when considering a food item. What millennials consider more than other generations reflects back on their desire for quality products. They consider options that advertise organic ingredients and certifications, enjoy company and/or product narratives, and actively look for allergens notices.

Keep in mind millennials are no longer simply teens and students with disposable income to spend on toys, games, and electronics. Many of them have entered adulthood and with that comes adult needs and shopping patterns which include considering children. Last year, 45% of all children had a millennial parent. That number will be 56% by 2025.

Label consideration and packaging design isn’t something millennials are considering strictly for their own lives, they are concerns for their own needs and that of their young families. Convenience. Good for the environment. Accurate, authentic information to enable proper meal planning and healthy eating.

Millennials are concerned with buying quality, fresh products, and they seem to be leaning towards pouches with simple, but obvious labels regarding health. Their consumer power is on the edge of exploding. Is your business ready?