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Packaging Value by Generation—Results of a Finnish Study



In the current era of digitalisation, packages are becoming an important printed medium for companies. As consumer brands are increasingly interested in integrating responsibility into their core strategies and product development, packages are often exploited to communicate these values to the end customers. Most of the western countries are greying faster than ever, setting high requirements for packaging functionality. Meantime, the future consumers, e.g. the Millennials, are presumed to have higher expectations for packaging both in terms of responsibility as well as overall user experience. The aim of this study was to explore generational differences in value experienced from packaging. The survey data (n=1934) was collected in 2011 in Finland. Six generations, i.e. Post-War, Baby Boomers I and II, Generation X, Xennials, and Millennials, were researched along the value dimensions of packaging performance, experience, status value, and responsibility. The results showed that the older generations showed higher value for packaging performance, i.e. convenience and product information, while the younger generations appreciated the experiential value created by packaging. Both the older and younger generations perceived high value in ethical and pro-environmental packaging. The younger generations perceived pro-environmental packaging as being manufactured from renewable resources and easy to recycle, while the older generations appreciated biodegradability, energy recoverable materials, packages decreasing product waste, and folding materials taking up as little space in the waste bin as possible. If the generational preferences are perceived as stable, the future of packaging design is likely to be driven by sustainable and easily recyclable materials creating experiential value for the end-users.


consumer, value, packaging, cohort, MillennialsText


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