Market trends in connected packaging in UK and US

SharpEnd and Fedrigoni conduct research among c-suite executives of more than 1,000 global brands.

SharpEnd, in collaboration with Fedrigoni, has released its new Connected Experience Report, a survey conducted among c-suite executives of more than 1,000 global brands across the beverage, healthcare and wellness and CPG sectors in the US and the UK. The survey analyzes why and how brands are engaging their consumers through connected experiences. 

96% of brands surveyed view connected packaging as vital to their marketing strategy, with 92% emphasizing the strategic importance of data collected through these technologies directly by the brand is a key strategic factor. 

85 percent of the brands are willing to pay more to integrate Near Field Communication (NFC) into their products and again 85 percent of them will increase their investments in connected products over the next 12 months. 

93 percent will use connected packaging solutions to support their sustainability programs over the next two years, as there is a strong belief (85 percent) that connected packaging can help achieve ESG goals. 

Alcoholic beverages (84 percent), CPG (67 percent) and healthcare (58 percent) are the sectors with the highest willingness to experiment with new connected packaging, mainly in the UK. On average, 70 percent of the survey respondents say they use NFC technology for their products or marketing strategies. 

The alcoholic beverages sector leads in planned investments (88 percent) and willingness to pay for NFC solutions (90 percent), while healthcare and wellness top in using QR codes and NFC for consumer information (60 percent). In sustainability, consumer goods show strong support; 89 percent respondents believe connected packaging aids ESG goals, with 94 percent seeing connected experiences as ideal for sharing sustainable initiatives. 

In January 2024, SharpEnd partnered with Fedrigoni which will allow SharpEnd to develop new products and high-performance integrated products using NFC and RFID technologies. 

Consumer demand for QR codes (95%) and NFC (93%) is strong. While QR codes are currently the most recognized technology, preference for NFC is growing. Educating brands on NFC's uses and advantages could further boost its adoption, as 85% of respondents believe suppliers can use NFC tags, but only 51% believe they are currently doing so, indicating room for growth. 

While there's a strong interest in using connected packaging for sustainability goals, 72 percent of brands worry about being seen as 'greenwashing'. This highlights the importance of trustworthy technology for sharing product information. Common methods for promoting ESG initiatives through connected packaging include sharing product details (59 percent) and highlighting awards (56 percent). 

The report explores upcoming packaging technologies and potential legislative changes. Brands anticipate digital triggers on packaging becoming mandatory for sustainability (50 percent), authentication (46 percent), ingredient and provenance information (44 percent), and verifying product claims (42 percent).