Connected packaging popularity expected to surge in 2023

Creative technology studio, Appetite Creative, today released results from its second annual Connected Packaging Survey. Connected packaging has experienced a rise in popularity in the last 12 months, with over four-fifths (81 per cent) of those surveyed stating they have used connected packaging, compared to just over half (54 per cent) in 2022.

Appetite Creative surveyed 968 executives globally in January and February 2023, working across the marketing, media, automotive, retail, utilities, construction, hospitality, FMCG/CPG and finance industries, about their appetite for, perceived value of, and understanding of connected packaging.

The biggest barrier for almost half of respondents is lack of business capabilities and preparedness (48 per cent), price (20 per cent) and complexity (11 per cent). A stark contrast from the results in 2022 when a third (29 per cent) stated it wasn’t a business requirement, a mindset found in only 7 per cent of respondents this year.

Almost half (48 per cent) consider connected packaging important to help educate customers, which paints a similar picture to that seen in last year’s survey. Other valuable factors this year included direct customer interaction (45 per cent) and using connected packaging to inform product updates or marketing decisions (42 per cent). Data collection requirements lagged behind, with a third (29 per cent) of those surveyed considering it important.

Increased investment in digital marketing spend is planned in 2023 by 88 per cent of those surveyed vs. 59 per cent in 2022. Businesses plan to increase spend on connected packaging campaigns by between $31,000 to $50,000, claimed almost half of respondents (42 per cent). This is more than double seen back in 2022, when 40 per cent planned to increase investment by less than $18,000.

Over four-fifths (88 per cent) claim to be planning a connected packaging campaign this year and the majority (92 per cent) of respondents consider connected packaging to be increasingly important to the packaging industry in the next 12 months and beyond. These numbers have ticked up year on year, with only two thirds (59 per cent) in 2022 citing plans for a connected packaging campaign and 85 per cent considered it important for the industry.

Connected packaging is deemed increasingly important as a sustainable way to connect with and educate customers (57 per cent) and it is perceived by almost half (44 per cent) to be becoming the main route to communicate directly with customers. Over a third (38 per cent) surveyed believe it encourages customer loyalty, with gamification ranking in a similar position (36 per cent), indicating playable ads are an important route to engaging with younger audiences.

Increased sustainability pressures on packaging producers and the introduction of new EU packaging laws have positively impacted the perceived value of connected packaging. The majority (91 per cent) of respondents agree that it helps to improve the sustainability credentials of a company, vs. 80 per cent in 2022.

New survey questions added this year looked at gamification in marketing campaigns, a seemingly popular connected experience tool, with 70 per cent claiming to use or to be considering using it. Almost two-thirds (57 per cent) adopted traditional mobile games, a third (31 per cent) used augmented reality games, and 11 per cent shared a quiz through a connected packaging experience. Almost half (48 per cent) used gamification to promote a new product or drive sales, 17 per cent to data collect and 15 per cent to improve brand recognition.

“Despite the cost-of-living crisis and global economic uncertainty, investment in connected packaging experiences continues to rise,” said Jenny Stanley, Managing Director at Appetite Creative. “No longer only a data collection tool, connected packaging is now a long-term customer relations and educational media channel, which helps companies navigate ever-changing sustainability requirements and inform product development and marketing decisions. Moving from a tipping point into mainstream usage this year, the perceived value of connected packaging has shifted to a business ‘must-have’.”

Survey highlights: 

  • 81 per cent used Connected Packaging as a brand in the last year vs 54 per cent in 2022

  • 48 per cent used connected packaging to help educate customers and shared product updates

  • Increased investment in digital marketing spend is planned by 88 per cent in 2023 vs. 59 per cent in 2022

  • 88 per cent claim to be planning a connected packaging campaign this year

  • 92 per cent consider connected packaging to be increasingly important to the packaging industry

  • 91 per cent consider connected packaging will improve business sustainability credentials.


28 February 2023, London