Products in just about every category and segment require some form of packaging. There are many unique products and markets that call for specialized types of packaging applications. In the packaging industry, we have customers in quite literally every market and niche within. From home office to pet foods, here’s some top trending markets and the role of the packaging industry.
Pet Food and Accessories
Throughout Covid we saw many stories of animal shelters adopting out all of their cats and dogs. People really turned to animals to keep them motived, optimistic, and happy through this time. Even before Covid people have always loved having pets at home: Sixty-seven percent of U.S. households, or about 85 million families, own a pet, according to the 2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA). This is up from 56 percent of U.S. households in 1988, the first year the survey was conducted. When it comes to packaging, there is a high demand for pet food packaging (bags, cans), in addition to packaging for accessories. Taking it further, with e-commerce playing such a vital role in consumers’ lives, e-comm-friendly packaging is important for this industry.
Eco-friendly solutions have gone from just the materials that are used to the whole system and lifecycle of the product. Refillable products with reusable containers have become popular for consumables like cleaning solutions, shampoos and more. There is also a trend in reducing the size of the package by shipping “without the water.” The concept of adding water to the solution after you purchase has a substantial savings for transportation costs and the impact that has on the environment. All of the refillable and reusable markets are geared toward consumers who are earth conscious.
While the term may sound like a plan to save energy, dark warehousing is actually a fully automated fulfillment strategy. Everything from storing, picking and maneuvering, to preparing packages for transit can be done – in theory – with machines and robots. The cost of fully automating a warehouse has become more attainable in recent years. So it goes with technology, the cost of entry has lowered exponentially as new equipment has been invented, new manufacturers have come to the market, and new processes have been developed.
3D Printing has made its way into nearly every sector, and packaging is no exception. The global interest in 3D printing has exploded due its cost effective method of creating unique shapes. Companies are able to create prototypes for pennies on the dollar when compared to traditional options. The packaging industry specifically has seen innovations in everything from machinery to unique package shapes.
Personal Care Products
While the personal care market in general is extremely large – and not necessarily considered “niche” – there are a few segments within the personal care industry that are up-and-coming. For instance, beard oil and other men’s products are becoming more popular. The old idea of 3-in-1 soap for men is starting to fade, especially for younger demographics. The packaging strategy has to evolve from a 1 bottle approach to a more encompassing packaging strategy that includes more products.
Another theme is subscription and delivery/ecommerce model for personal care. Instead of buying the classic brands at the grocery store, consumers have found boutique offerings for personal care brands. The subscription model for these products is also a ripe opportunity for packaging companies.