New Esko study reveals that 34% of shoppers return an online purchase because of the packaging

Esko, alongside sister companies Pantone, X-Rite and AVT, have released a new study titled Packaging and the Digital Shopper: Meeting Expectations in Food & Beverage. Highlighting what primary shoppers want from food and beverage packaging, the report is aimed at brand and marketing managers, design leaders, packaging professionals and tech leaders who want to gain knowledge of shoppers’ preferences in packaging within the food and beverage sector, along with how and why they buy. “With this knowledge, they can better optimize, evolve and connect packaging through technology platforms that support end-to-end packaging value chain and leverage packaging as an enabler for product innovation,” said Esko. Some key statistics from study reveal that:

  • Only 0.8% of primary shoppers indicated that they have never purchased any food and beverage products online.
  • 34% of shoppers return an online purchase because of the packaging.
  • 33% of those who purchase online cite convenience as a reason, and 43% of respondents say they shop online to get a better price.
  • 75% of shoppers said that they foresee purchasing more snacks online in the next 18 months.
  • 90% of primary shoppers say that buying these food and beverages online isn’t their first preference – and they won’t purchase this way in the future.

Inside the mind of the in-store shopper. Packaging plays a key role in product differentiation on the shelf at traditional brick-and-mortar stores. A key in-store goal for any consumer packaged goods (CPG) company is to get the shopper to actually touch their package. The shopper is more likely to buy a product once they touch it, and how the packaging looks and feels in their hand impacts that impulse, Esko added. In-store activities also have a big impact on trials, with 20% of shoppers reporting that they’ve tried a new product specifically because of in-store taste samples or an in-store display.

Online purchases and shopper packaging expectations. Online and offline experiences must mirror each other, as primary shoppers expect nothing less from brands. Whether they’re purchasing products on the Internet or pulling an item from a retail shelf, the packaging and the experience should be the same. For example:

  • 47% of shoppers expect the product image to match the product packaging that arrives on their doorstep.
  • Only 9% of survey respondents were satisfied with packaging that was a different colour or package type.
  • 26% of primary shoppers who had returned product based on the packaging, reported that they did so because they thought it looked wrong or was counterfeit.
John Elworthy.
John Elworthy.
Udo Panenka.
Udo Panenka.

“Data and insights on what shoppers like helps fuel innovative product designs with strong value propositions through packaging, – but knowing how shoppers want to receive products is also critical piece of the story,” said John Elworthy, Senior Director of Global Brand Sales at Esko. “Without knowing the means by which shoppers want to receive products, marketers and brand leaders risk losing out on revenue opportunities.” Esko President Udo Panenka agrees: “By connecting the packaging value chain through the latest packaging technologies, fast-moving consumer goods companies will be able to better connect to consumers and elevate their brand experiences – and both pre-media and converters will better understand the product standards consumers expect, and can work more seamlessly with brand owners to provide them. This helps to make packaging the enabler to satisfy consumer needs – rather than being a cost driver or a headache.”

To explore more of insights from the study, please visit:




Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.