Retail Packaging Design Trends for Millennials in 2020: Rigid Boxes

Retail Packaging Design Trends for Millennials in 2020: Rigid Boxes

Retail Packaging Design Trends for Millennials in 2020: Rigid Boxes

Ignoring the need to adapt your retail packaging design to suit Millennial buyers can mean letting 25% of the U.S. market slip through your fingers.

Rigid box design is at the forefront of luxury retail packaging, and Millennials are here for it. All it takes to reach them is realizing that they aren’t much different from any other generation when it comes to advertising concepts. Human nature is driven by the same primal desires from one generation to the next, meaning the driving force behind selling to Millennials isn’t much different from the one that drove sales to their parents. However, there are a few variances.

Drawing attention to your retail packaging design and getting your target market to take action simply comes down to knowing where your buyers spend their time and what they value.


Have Digital and Physical Shelf Appeal

A distinguishing factor that separates Millennials from Gen X and Baby Boomers is the current generation’s reliance on technology. Millennials have been exposed to a much different digital world than that of preceding generations, and this fact is being reflected in their buying patterns.

The unboxing experience has become pivotal among Millennials. We live in a world driven by social selling. Your retail packaging needs to be Instagram-worthy, with a design so captivating your buyers want to show it off.

There is a caveat with creating a rigid box worth showing off on social media: it has to look just as good on store shelves. Customers seeing your beautiful designs all over the internet are going to be looking for that same experience in person.

Contrary to popular belief, Millennials actually prefer a brick-and-mortar shopping experience over a digital one. The main difference is they tend to research online, then make their purchase in a physical place of business. If their online expectations aren’t met in the store, you could turn them away from the purchase. Or, worse yet, you could be setting yourself up for a reputation-ruining online review.

One easy way to test the temperature of your audience is to solicit online feedback of packaging design elements pre-launch. Plenty of consumers are more than happy to have their opinion heard when given the opportunity to speak up.


Turn Your Retail Packaging Into a Personalized Experience

Companies embracing a personalized experience with their retail packaging design—one that celebrates the uniqueness of their customers—are the ones drawing the most attention from Millennials.

Contrary to the Baby Boomer generation, where advertising circulated the concept of conformity, Millennials prefer to celebrate their one-of-a-kind attributes. We have entered a world where differences are being exulted, and smart retailers are cashing in on this by giving customers opportunities to put their personal mark on their brand designs.

Coca-Cola’s “It’s Mine” campaign incorporated millions of new graphics into their diet cola’s packaging design, appealing to the unique, and varied, tastes of their expansive customer base. It resulted in a 2.1% increase in brand awareness and a 3% increase in brand preference.

Similarly, Oreo’s “Colorfilled” campaign capitalized on the growing adult coloring book trend by inviting customers to design their own cookie packaging—and just in time for the holidays. The popular cookie makers saw a 12% increase in consumption growth during the first month of their initiative. Their Twitter following more than tripled. It would seem that it pays off to get a little creative with your retail packaging.


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Make Millennials Aware That You Share Their Values

What is the best way to tell people that you use sustainable packaging and cruelty-free production methods? By displaying it where prospects can see it, right on your packaging.

For generations, we have held strong values concerning how the products we consume are manufactured, but Millennials have taken a louder stance on issues like environmentalism and animal protection. Companies that support profit-sharing with charities and humanitarian organizations are also held in high regard, and this generation is showing its support by opening their wallets to them.

Reach out to Millennials and show that you share their values by incorporating this message into your retail packaging design. Don’t over-complicate it. A minimalist approach with text carries the biggest impact. Be direct, and have clear messaging that shows your support.

Related Content: How a Box Company Can Help Your Business Enhance Product Shelf Appeal

Key Packaging Design Elements That Millennials Love

Millennials respond to minimalism. If your packaging is too wordy, they won’t read it. If there are too many colors or graphics, they will avert their eyes.

While living in a highly digital landscape has streamlined communication, 41% of Millennials are suffering from information overload because of it. If you want their attention, you need to appeal to their need for simplicity.

Rigid boxes are the perfect escape from advertising overload. By design, they tend to already have an upscale feel. They can be customized with a wide range of high-end finishes, which are arguably appealing to a generation that drives commerce by displaying purchases for anyone with an Instagram or Facebook account to see.

Aligned with a sense of information overload, Millennials are overwhelmed with a sense of nostalgia. If it suits your product, retro touches can easily be incorporated into your rigid box design and appeal to a generation that sometimes yearns for a less digitally-driven world.

It's important to remember that Millennials have been coming of age during a recession. They won’t be as attracted to catchy slogans and over-the-top advertising. Companies displaying authenticity, transparency, and mission-driven messaging are where they're spending their hard-earned money.


If you want Millennials' attention, create a retail packaging design that is easily adaptable to shifting trends while staying true to your brand’s core values. Working with a product packaging company with its finger on the pulse of today’s Millennial market will give you the best shot at designing a retail package Millennials can’t get enough of.

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