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The only thing we can say with certainty is that 2021 has been just as unpredictable of a year as 2020.
With continuing supply chain issues and disruptions, large and small businesses have had to weather significant changes.
Balancing business issues with customer expectations isn’t always easy, but that’s why planning ahead is so crucial.
For retailers looking ahead, one of the key things that needs extra attention is packaging supply.
Shipping and packaging supplies have been running out quicker than ever as more customers shop online, and that is likely here to stay.
We’ll look ahead to some of the key packaging trends to look out for in 2022 to help your planning efforts and stay ahead of competition.
Considerations for the New Year
One of the major considerations for 2022 is packaging optimization across the supply chain.
So as you plan for the year ahead, here is what you should be focusing on:
How Your Brand Is Reflected in Packaging
New year, new brand?
While that might not quite be it for some, it’s still important to think about.
Branding and packaging go hand in hand, and does your packaging truly still reflect what your brand is about?
If not, this might be the perfect time to look at packaging trends and see how you can refresh yours to be more reflective of the direction of your product.
Custom packaging can have an instant “wow” effect on customers, existing and new.
It’s becoming more and more important to keep up to date with constantly changing consumer demands.
Let’s face it, sometimes a packaging redesign is the most straightforward way to address new purchasing behaviors.
Allocating Resources for Packaging
Budget and quantity is always an important aspect to consider, but this is especially true for 2022.
The major packaging trend emerging now is stockpiling shipping and packaging supplies when possible.
Whether you decide to update your custom packaging or not, having ample supply is crucial as you move into the new year.
With more supply chain problems expected, setting aside the budget for the capability of storing packaging will help you manage your growth effectively amongst unpredictable supply chain changes.
Think About Your Timing
Another major consideration for the new year is timing.
Designing, ordering, and receiving packaging aren’t quick processes anymore.
With so many disruptions for suppliers and manufacturers, you must give yourself enough time to build up supplies and manage growth.
That means ordering ahead whenever possible and keeping a strategic eye on packaging trends to ensure you always have the materials you need to supply your customers with products.
Maneuvering the Supply Chain
Be Flexible About Your Needs
The main advice for this year when it comes to supply chain?
Plan ahead as much as possible.
While it might sound redundant, it’s just that important as we move into the new year.
Many businesses have started entering into multi-year contracts to have some assurance of steady packaging supplies, and others are following suit to ensure their production needs are prioritized.
That also means being flexible about needs and being able to handle drastic fluctuations as needed.
Businesses that can be nimble and connect services together will see better results across the supply chain issues.
Rethink Your Focus
A lot of businesses have used this time to rethink their current supply chain and manufacturing, as well as their packaging.
For example, businesses are opting for closer warehouses and packaging partners to help mitigate delays while gaining more control over lead times.
Similarly, other businesses have now shifted their focus to diversifying packaging partners, manufacturers, and other parts of the supply chain to guarantee items.
While it might mean short-term pricing issues as buying orders are split up across partners, it does mean more flexibility and time efficiency in production.
Packaging Industry Trends
So where is the packaging industry heading now, when there’s so much demand and new needs emerging?
Let’s look at some of the emerging trends as we move into 2022.
Pandemic Prepared Certification for Packaging Lines and Supply Chains
It’s becoming increasingly clear that COVID-19 is not going anyway any time soon.
With resurgences and lockdowns predicted for next year, businesses need to think about how to protect their products and supply chain.
One way to do this is through pandemic prepared certification to give facilities more leverage against COVID-19 related issues in the future.
Protective and Tamper Proof Packaging
With the threat of COVID-19 lingering, another concern has been health and safety in packaging.
Protective packaging, tamper-proof packaging, and other types of safety measures are becoming a major packaging focus as we head into 2022.
Measures that help consumers confirm the safety of the products they purchase, will be absolutely crucial for businesses moving forward.
Businesses that can get creative with protective custom packaging, will be able to provide a more comforting experience for customers in the world of coronavirus.
New Ways to Look at Packaging
It’s not just the supply chain that has been disrupted, but there has also been a major increase in worker resignations as well.
For many businesses, that has meant lean teams and fewer boots on the ground.
To deal with this, the future of flexible packaging may be especially notable in 2022 with smaller work forces having to be more time efficient.
That’s why many businesses have outsourced packaging lines and supply chains to refocus on keeping the business running.
Temporary workforces and automation, such as packaging machinery, are becoming a key industry trend within this space, and we’re likely to see more of that in 2022 too.
Furthermore, AR/VR packaging is becoming much more a part of the mainstream.
Read more about smart packaging.
It’s an incredibly new idea gaining ground as businesses try to stay ahead of the competition.
It’s safe to say digitally augmented packaging will likely take more hold in the new year as businesses create more interactive experiences for their customers in a world of smartphones.
Packaging Design Trends
In the current competitive landscape businesses look to create a more distinctive visual identity for themselves.
Let’s take a look at some of packaging design trends to look out for in the new year.
Eccentric Text-Centric Designs
Text and lettering are becoming standalone art in newer packaging designs.
Rather than illustrative and graphic elements, companies are focusing more on creating one-of-a-kind text designs for their packaging.
This helps increase brand name awareness while taking a minimalist approach that customers might not have seen before.
Color mists have been the latest trend on social media, and companies are now trying to recreate digital trends in the physical world.
Color mists are all about creating a mesmerizing effect that brings calm and clarity, and that’s what businesses are looking to do for their packaging.
Overblurring, adding more texture and noise to packaging colors might be the way to do it, but many designers are still working out this latest packaging design trend.
Maximal Inside, Minimal Outside
Another new trend is all about creating a minimal look on the exterior of the packaging and contrast it with decadent and beautiful designs inside.
It’s all about creating surprise and delight for customers as they open the packaging and creating a truly unique unboxing experience.
Many companies are creating simple external packaging and keeping the inside bright and colorful to bring up the visual appeal of the packaging and give customers an element of surprise.
Imperfect Raw Materials and Sustainability
Sustainability has become a crucial part of packaging in the last few years, and that trend is here to stay.
But as the sustainability trend evolves, there is also a renowned focus on using imperfect raw materials, environmentally friendly inks, and water-based protective coatings to keep packaging looking more rustic and eco-friendly.
That might mean using more earthly textures in packaging and using neutral materials to create unique textures and color contrasts in the world of eco-friendly packaging solutions.
Looking to get in an order for your 2022 packaging supply?
Contact our product specialists for expert advice on packaging, design and printing solutions for your custom product packaging.