By 2032[i], the print and printed packaging market is estimated to be worth over a quarter of its worldwide value due to the expanding segment of digital printing. But why is this increase occurring?

This blog post will discuss how e-commerce platforms that use hyper-targeted advertising, especially to Millennials and Gen Z, are setting the standard for consumer trends that are influencing the digital printed packaging market.

Etsy is a global e-commerce store that offers handcrafted and creative goods that are unique. From 45.7 to 92 million active purchasers, the number of customers on Etsy has doubled since 2019. The majority of these buyers are younger females who spend more money more frequently.

An increasing number of retailers are catering to this high demand by providing distinctive, frequently personalised products. Since 2017, the number of active sellers on the site has increased by about 270% to seven million, a sign that small businesses selling on the platform are doing well.

However, how can the seven million active merchants differentiate themselves from their rivals? Branded, eye-catching packaging for online sales could be the solution.

 Why is Packaging Important?

According to nearly two-thirds (61%) of consumers, the shape, substance, look, and personalisation of packaging are a significant or even extremely important component of the unboxing experience. This information comes from a Mondi poll on ecommerce trends and customer attitudes about packaging in Europe. Due to unsightly packaging, almost one-third of customers (34%) would even think twice about making another purchase.

These observations highlight how crucial it is to give customers a satisfying unpacking experience. Another Millennial-favourite e-commerce category where the unboxing experience is highly valued is subscription services. Numerous subscription services offer curated mystery boxes on a biweekly, monthly, or quarterly basis, bringing the thrill of discovering unknown things closer to home.

Convenience (20.1%) and enjoyment (44.4%) are the main considerations for box customers when selecting a retail goods subscription. They can test out new products in a category they’ll like using the subscription strategy, saving them from having to deal with the deluge of options. Craft beer, artisan chocolate, children’s creative crafts, and beauty items are just a few of the categories in which subscription boxes and one-off hamper boxes, carefully selected by reliable experts and brands, are now offered for the whole family.

As evidenced by the millions of beauty product unpacking videos on video sharing platforms, beauty boxes with a combination of full- and sample-sized makeup and personal care goods are particularly popular. Having boxes with a unique, memorable packaging design can be essential to standing out from the competition and enticing potential subscribers to take a closer look, especially with this much exposure for the packaging and its contents.

Packaging Printed Digitally Gives a Personalised Unboxing Experience

Since 97% of Etsy sellers and many small ecommerce merchants work from home, it is doubtful that they will have the space to keep substantial quantities of packaging that meet the minimum order criteria of many packaging providers.

That does not imply that they must pass up the chance to unbox something for their consumers or themselves. Digital printing for packaging is becoming more widely available, allowing e-commerce companies of all sizes to order visually appealing boxes. Sending a special handmade present in plain brown corrugated cardboard packaging is superfluous!

With low minimum order numbers and affordable prices, digital printing for packaging opens up new possibilities for small businesses to develop their own brands and improve customer satisfaction by producing boxes that are just as distinctive as the products they sell.

Some sellers enhance their packaging with final touches like digitally printed labels; occasionally, this is a cheap way for them to make their own branded e-commerce packaging. Digital printing is useful for producing attractive gift boxes and packaging for companies that sell their goods at farmers’ markets and craft fairs in addition to online retailers.

Businesses may foster consumer trust by maintaining a professional appearance, and digital print can provide a personal touch by incorporating personalised printed elements. By integrating QR codes into the packaging design, businesses may increase website traffic, foster better customer interaction with their brand, and encourage repeat business from repeat customers directly—all without the expensive commissions associated with many e-commerce platforms.

Variable data can also be included on product packaging with the use of digital printing. Even small firms with a limited product line may afford the serialisation of QR codes powered by GS1, which can provide one-on-one consumer contact to foster those crucial relationships and serve as a springboard for securing future retail listings on other platforms.

Branded ecommerce packaging: an opportunity for converters

Branded packaging for online sales: a chance for converters

In order to maximise their investment, converters aiming to meet the increasing demand for branded e-commerce packaging ought to collaborate with a reliable supplier of digital printing equipment.

A great choice for branded e-commerce packaging is digital printing. Additionally, it is being utilised more and more as an affordable choice for short- to medium-sized runs of variable packaging designs, including retail packaging that is limited-edition, seasonal, and promotional. One important use of digital printing for packaging is the addition of variable data, such as serialised QR codes or variants of the product’s language.


[i] Smithers, The Future of Digital Printing to 2032


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