Smurfit Kappa UK Half Yearly Insights Report 2023

Half Yearly Insights Report for Customers Packaging Industry 2023 

Half Yearly Insights Report 2023

Key Research Findings

  1. Consumers are more sustainability savvy than ever before SO clarity and ethics is key, with packaging taking a forefront
  2. Emotional and social connection with perceived core values at the heart is mission critical
  3. Technological futures top of mind for both brands and the consumer

1. Consumers are more sustainability savvy than ever before SO clarity and ethics is key, with packaging taking a forefront

It’s no secret that sustainability is no longer a trend but an ever-evolving and complex subject that is becoming interwoven with our day-to-day lives. As we learn more about our planet and the impact that ‘we’ are having on it, it’s imperative to also understand the impact the sustainability drive is having on consumers and their buying habits.

  • There has been a sharp increase in the number of consumers embracing circularity with 1 in 2 claiming to repair or reuse an item instead of replacing it. *Deloitte
  • 50% of consumers either do not know what commitments businesses have made that they can trust, or simply do not trust businesses on climate change and sustainability issues. *Deloitte
  • There has been a positive trend identifying that 37% of GenZ shoppers make a conscious effort to read green messages displayed on packaging. *Modern Retail
  • Google has recorded that users are more engaged, educated, and comfortable navigating sustainability and researching its terminology than ever before.

For example – instead of simply searching ‘sustainability’ people are now actively searching ‘sustainable fashion brands’ or ‘sustainable beauty brands’ in their day to day lives. *Think with Google

  • When consumers critique a business for sustainability credentials, packaging and products are the most influential. Frequent and essential purchases drive the greatest consumer interest in sustainable and ethical values, with producing sustainable products and packages rating as the number 1 priority, above reducing carbon footprint & waste in manufacturing. *Deloitte
  • Accounting for 10 million online shoppers, GenZ, digital natives are the new shopping powerhouse, and over half are influenced by packaging sustainability. *Duo

Summary: Sustainability is still a top and ever-growing subject matter particularly with younger GenZ consumers. As we navigate through the ever-changing economic climate, now more than ever trusted knowledge and expertise in this area is essential for boosting brand loyalty. Moving forward, key focus on clear green on-pack messaging, plastic replacement, and recyclability will be paramount for success.

Also read: Sustainable packaging example setting by collaborating with 'The North Face' 

2. Emotional and social connection with perceived core values at the heart is mission critical

In this fast passed world, change is a constant and people are digesting more content than ever before and seeking new ways to shop for products that reflect their core values. With increasing competition a deeper connection is required to stand out from the crowd and to deliver on what consumers really want & need – even if they don’t know it themselves yet.

  • There is an upward trend in consumers seeking out brands whose core values identify with their own, with sustainability, equity, and authenticity as driving factors. Now more than ever it’s essential for brands to capture their customers for all the right reasons, whilst operating under the rapidly growing digital spotlight. *Faire
  • 75% of consumers would be willing to part ways with a brand if they felt there was a conflict in values, with 15% willing to share their qualms on social media *Consumer Goods Technology 
  • Turning to social media to guide them in the digital realm, 87% of people now use social platforms when making a shopping decision. While 55% of smartphone shoppers have purchased a product after seeing it on social media. *Modern Retail
  • 49% depend on influencers to make recommendations. *Digital Marketing Institute
  • According to YouTube, videos featuring amateur unboxing of everything from running shoes to dog toys have been viewed more than 1.1 billion times. This trend is set to keep growing as people seek out guidance on the right products for them and their values, to help them achieve the lifestyle they desire.

Summary: Ethical & ‘social ready’ packaging that is photogenic, experiential, and connected to the digital world is a MUST for brands operating within the social sphere. Consumers want their products and packaging to reflect them and their core values, and how this is presented to them in the digital context is more mission critical than ever to achieve success.

As we move to an even more digitally immersive future, focus on sustainable bespoke design and packaging materials, combined with innovative on-pack messaging is key. Packaging that interacts socially and delivers a new user experience, putting consumers core values and ethics at the forefront, is crucial for maintaining brand loyalty and future-proofing.

3. Technological futures top of mind for both brands and the consumer

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and The Metaverse are set to revolutionise the way in which we live our day-to-day lives, taking social media and the digital world to quite literally another realm of existence. Technology is front of mind for both businesses and consumers, but what does this mean for the future of packaging?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has proven to be a reliable tech to lead the way for the next evolution, from production to packaging to distribution. Increasing market demand for eco-friendly materials, paper-based packaging, sustainable consumer goods and service, and the circular economy are some of the critical drivers for the packaging industry to onboard AI. *Monolith

Whilst Artificial Intelligence (AI) could transform sustainability and the supply chain, the consumer focus is more on the virtual world.

  • 69% of the global shoppers (and 53% in Europe) would appreciate a brand being present in the virtual world (The Metaverse). *LinkedIn
  • 60% of the global shoppers (and 50% in Europe) are interested in Augmented Reality driven shopping experiences. New shopping formats enable interactive ways for product discovery and commerce. *LinkedIn

The future is coming and fast, and we are committed to being your trusted and knowledgeable packaging partner of choice, at the forefront of the latest cutting-edge developments. Whether it be a virtual store selling virtual boxes designed by Smurfit Kappa, or using AI technology to assist with sustainability, it is imperative that we embrace change together to move forward into a new future.

Sector Specific Insights

Fashion & Luxury

  • 82% of consumers say they need fashion and luxury brands to assist in expressing their true self. *Think with Google
  • Consumers are also seeking out clothes and accessories that communicate certain values and aspirations, such as kindness and acceptance and a desire to minimise their environmental impact. *Think with Google
  • To earn loyalty, luxury brands will have to communicate their sustainability credentials clearly and honestly. *Think with Google

Smurfit Kappa UK Fashion and Packaging Success Stories

Food & Drink

  • 45% define food and drink ‘value’ as products with additional health benefits, making it the most prized quality that shoppers seek. *Mintel
  • 31% of adults who buy alcohol are prompted to purchase alcoholic drink due to a visual ‘wow factor’. *Mintel
  • 46% of consumers state that being sustainable is most important in drinks packaging.
  • 52% of adults in the UK have bought alcoholic drinks as a gift for someone in the past 12 months. *Mintel
  • 29% of alcohol drinkers agree that the environmental impact of alcoholic drinks and brands is a concern. This rises to 54% of alcohol drinkers aged 18-24. *Mintel
Smurfit Kappa UK Food & Drink Partner Success Stories & Blogs

Health & Beauty

  • TikTok is now used by 52% of users to discover new beauty products. *Thg ingenuity
  • Speeding into the age of the expert. For beauty and wellness this equates to research, testing, proof points and facts that will foster understanding, trust, and positive sentiment among audiences. With a desire for clarity on ingredients also comes a focus on how such ingredients benefit the user. *Thg ingenuity
  • 62% of female beauty/personal care consumers aged 16-24 who buy new products, do so to simply to treat themselves. *Mintel
  • 53% of UK shoppers have bought an eco-friendly beauty/ grooming product in the last 12 months. *Mintel

Smurfit Kappa UK Health & Beauty Partner Success Stories

Pet Sector

The UK pet market is rapidly expanding.

  • In total, people in the UK spend nearly £8 billion a year on their pets.
  • People living in the UK spend around 3.2 billion pounds on pet food each year, and this number is steadily increasing year after year.
  • Experts expect organic cat litter to take a larger market share from 2022 to 2027 due to increased demand.
  • 20% of pet owners in the United Kingdom spend at least £20 per month on outfits for their pets. *Pet Keen

Smurfit Kappa UK Pet Partner Success Stories

We are thrilled to share our first ever half yearly market research report, which offers a comprehensive exploration into the latest need-to-know industry insights, emerging trends, evolving consumer behaviours and future trajectories that are shaping the packaging landscape.

To download the report, simply click the button below.

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