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5 big custom package trends for e-commerce in 2024

Here are the five packaging trends manufacturers need to know if they want to get ahead of the competition in 2023.

December 20, 2023
13 min read
Team Katana

Team Katana

Katana Team

The eCommerce business market is constantly expanding. Most businesses are joining the eCommerce revolution. The global packaging automation solution market is set to reach $155 billion by 2033, expanding at 7.5% CAGR from 2023 to 2033.

Packing is an important cornerstone of the eCommerce industry and its demand is ever-increasing as the eCommerce industry expands at unprecedented rates. According to Smithers, a recognized provider of strategic market research reports, “The comprehensive research employed in The Future of Global Packaging to 2024, shows that packaging demand will grow steadily at 2.8% to reach $1.05 trillion in 2024.”

Packaging is the science, art, and technology of enclosing or protecting products for distribution, storage, sale, and use. Packaging also refers to the process of designing, evaluating, and producing packages. Packaging contains, protects, preserves, transports, informs, and sells.

The process of bringing a product and package together is usually the last step of the product manufacturing operation. Packaging also accounts for the manufacturer’s marketing efforts. For top manufacturers, the packaging of their product indicates their brand value in the market. These manufacturers view this stage as an essential pillar of their marketing strategy and it is also a part of their business model. For leading manufacturers, the packaging is as important as the product itself.

Consumer buying habits and industry trends for packaging are the main drivers behind the rapid growth rate for packaging demands. To understand and comprehend the direction in which this growth is headed, it is important to look at the top packaging trends for the eCommerce industry in 2023.

1. Sustainability and Environmentally Friendly Packaging

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Back in 2017, eCommerce industry leader Amazon committed to balancing the act between providing strong and protective packaging and also remaining dedicated to sustainability and environmental issues.

But in 2021, the trends have changed drastically. In 2019 there was a massive worldwide protest on climate change and scores of young people, mostly millennials and Gen- Z gathered on the streets to demand a world that is more environmentally friendly. This younger generation constitutes a huge chunk of the eCommerce consumer market. Before this green generation makes a purchase, they consider, “a product’s ecological footprint and full lifecycle, from design to production and shipping.”

Due to these demographic changes in the consumer market, sustainability, recycling, and environmental issues have taken a center stage. Zero-waste packaging is on a rise and other environmentally friendly packaging supplies are booming. Plant-based packaging is becoming popular which uses natural ingredients like mushrooms, sugar cane, coconut, corn-starch, and plant-based paper.

The mantra of “reduce, reuse and recycle,” is gaining more momentum with young, educated, and modern customers. According to an Accenture survey, the majority of consumers prefer buying from companies that share their values. 62% of people surveyed said that they would like to purchase their products from companies that are focused on reducing plastics and improving the environment. Consumers are getting conscious about their carbon footprint and are more likely to support brands that share their values.

For example, Arka, a company that makes custom packaging for other businesses, are aware of this reality and focus on suitability. They ensure environmentally friendly packaging through:

  • Using sustainable packaging that can be repurposed;
  • Shipping items in bulk;
  • Offering carbon-neutral shipping by offsetting emissions;
  • Recycling on behalf of our suppliers and offer shipping-friendly items;
  • Reducing the size of your packaging;
  • Using compostable mailers;
  • Working with wholesalers to reduce individual shipments and limit return shipping; and
  • Offering a returns program for your empty product containers.

Environmentally friendly packaging has become a requirement for the majority of their customers and hence it is the top trend for packaging in 2021. Leading brands have already adapted their packaging by using more sustainable and environmentally friendly materials.

2. Digital Printing

2021 is going to be all about digital printing. This new decade will be dominated entirely by everything digital. Digital printing provides an efficient, aesthetically pleasing design solution for all kinds of packaging.

Digital packaging uses digital technology, three-dimensional software, printed electronics, and digitally controlled manufacturing protocols. It utilizes computer generation as the principal mechanism. Digital printing has made inroads in every part of today’s packaging and is showing no signs of stopping.

Digital printing also allows packagers far more leeway in personalization and customization options than mechanical processes like offset printing did. All leading packaging companies are now using digital printing services.  According to the Smithers report,  The Future of Digital Print for Packaging to 2022, the rapidly expanding digital (inkjet and toner) packaging market will grow by almost 13% annually to exceed $22 billion. Companies that haven’t made the switch from analog to digital in 2021, will have a hard time competing in the market soon.

One massive advantage of digital printing technology is that it has the ability to print all colors in a single pass which is a lot more efficient than any other kind of printing. The demand for digital printing is growing rapidly and the market is undergoing a fundamental transformation with regards to efficient production of packaging. Digitally printed packaging leads to better customer engagement which makes it a win-win strategy for all.

3. Customized Packaging

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Customized packaging is a leading trend for 2021 and is here to stay. This trend has been building for a few years in various forms but will make a great impact on the industry in 2021.

Customized packaging helps you add a personalized touch which enables you to make an emotional connection with your customer. This leads to brand loyalty and eventually higher revenues. Customized packaging also helps to deliver a personalized user experience to your customer. It also enhances your company’s brand value. Your customers will be able to connect with your brand’s theme colors, designs, and logos just by looking at the package if you take the customized packaging route. This will also strengthen the branding of your company.

Some companies have taken personalization to a whole other level. For example, Coca-Cola started printing people’s names on their soft drink bottles and cans. With this kind of personalized packaging, they gained a lot of attention worldwide. Additionally, due to this personalized packaging marketing campaign, their sales rose significantly.

Customized packaging also gives you ample room for creativity which is great because you can create your own unique packaging which is reflective of your brand in the best way possible.

When it comes to packaging, remember, the sky is the limit!

4. Colors, Designs, and Gradients

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In 2021, the trend shift towards bolder designs, logos, and colors will remain strong. Robust and dynamic designs that steer away from ordinary and mundane, remove the dullness from packaging and many companies are now recognizing the advantages of shifting towards bold designs. Customers respond well and tend to remember designs that are quirky and hip, colors that are unique, and logos that are exclusive.

According to the Pantone Color Institute, people experience 80% of their awareness from sight. Neon shades like bright pink and bright yellow and all metallic colors are instant attention grabbers. Leading manufacturers and marketers are custom designing their packaging based on what will stick out the most with the customers and provide them with a memorable unboxing experience.

This year will witness a continued domination of bursts of color, flare in design, and creativity in logos when it comes to customized packaging. Unique designs on packaging provide an exceptional customer experience which adds to brand value and customers that keep returning for more.

5. Minimalist Packaging

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Minimalism is the new black and will dominate the packaging industry in 2021. The “less is more” approach is taking over the packaging industry. Aesthetics play an important role in this sector and minimalist aesthetics will lead the industry this year with digital prints, bold colors, and unique designs.

Minimalist packaging is more popular among meticulous customers who don’t like opening products that have extravagant wrapping. Additionally, most customers find it inconvenient to go through layers of unpacking the product which leads to a lot of waste.

The reason why brown paper wrappings are so popular is a testament to how minimalist packaging impacts the customers. They appreciate simplicity and economy. The minimalist packaging trend also applies to labels on products. Simple and straight-forward labels without excessive fine print give a more trendy and clean feeling to the customers.

Minimalist packaging also makes it easy to keep things sustainable and green. Minimalist packaging is going to give luxury and vintage packaging materials some competition and they will have to come up with solutions to meet the demands of younger generations that prefer minimalist packaging and are taking climate change, waste reduction, and pollution seriously.


And there you have it! All the top trends of the packaging industry for 2023 at your disposal.

We explored the various dynamics of top trends in the packaging industry. From sustainability and environmentally friendly packaging to minimalistic packaging. As more younger consumers become a part of the eCommerce industry shopping via platforms such as BigCommerce, it is imperative to tailor to their packaging needs. The packaging industry has reached a tipping point in this decade and these trends will make their mark on the upcoming timeline. So make sure to be updated with the trends and start to implement today.

Arka is a one-stop packaging shop for eCommerce at highly competitive prices, both branded and unbranded. Merchants are able to easily design and order their packaging by using our easy-to-use customizer app. Whether you need 10 or 10,000 bags or boxes, Arka is here to help!

Until next time, happy packaging!

Team Katana

Team Katana

Katana Team
Katana’s cloud inventory platform covers the live inventory, production, accounting, and reporting features that give businesses the knowledge they need to make the right decisions.

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