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What to expect with packaging in 2020

What to expect with packaging in 2020

2019 brought many changes and advancements to the packaging industry. Retailers and customers alike have a closer relationship with packaging products than ever before.

Customers are becoming more particular with what they expect from packaging. Whether it’s the sustainability side, in which customers are demanding that companies use environmentally friendly products, or the unboxing experience, in which customers are expecting a package that arrives at their door with more bells and whistles than a brick-and-mortar store, ecommerce stores have a lot to consider as we exit 2019.

These are our top predictions for what to expect with packaging in 2020.

Technology Integration

We have already seen an explosion of “smart packaging” and this is only going to continue. One application that has become popular is tracking. Packaging is a popular way for retailers to track their packages all the way to the customer. This makes it easy when it comes to recalls, especially for food packaging.

In 2020, retailers will see even more tech applications when it comes to packaging. With the use of smart labels and QR codes, customers are already getting used to the concept of scanning a package to get more details. This has helped retailers improve packaging aesthetics and give more information to customers.

Customer Interaction

Another concept that will grow in popularity in 2020 is the idea of customers interacting with packaging. Smart devices have made it easy for companies to create packaging that customers can interact with. Virtual reality software introduced the concept of pointing your device at a package to learn more about the product. Whether it’s as simple as nutritional information and easy reordering, or more complex interactions like personalization and geolocation, there are endless possibilities with using VR in your packaging.

Digital printing will also keep improving our ability to enhance the customer experience with our packaging. Because of the feasible cost of digital printing and the ability to print in small quantities, we can create even more personalization for our customers. This trend will keep up momentum in 2020. How will you use personalization in your packaging?  

Packaging Design

Similar to the fashion industry, packaging design is always evolving to meet customers’ desires. By understanding what your customers are aesthetically drawn to, you can win them over with your packaging. If it has been a few years since your last packaging redesign, 2020 might be the year to consider new designs.

In 2020 we expect to see the following design trends:

  • Vintage: Just like music, people are drawn to the nostalgia of the past. You can use this in your packaging by introducing elements from vintage designs.
  • Minimalistic: Don’t over complicate it; our customers have so many distractions in their environment. By keeping it simple and minimal, you can easily catch their attention.
  • Transparency: Honesty and transparency go a long way with customers. They want to know what they are getting, and you can harm your brand reputation by not meeting their expectations. Some retailers take this literally by providing clear packaging so customers can see what they are actually getting before they buy it.


The modern-day consumer lives a very “on the go” lifestyle. When it comes to food packaging, portability is especially important. A simple example that has become a big hit is the Starbucks mobile order program. Customers can order their beverages and snacks from their smart phone before entering the store to make their in-store experience easy and quick.

By creating packaging options that make your products portable, you can improve your customers’ interaction with your products. Another example is the increase of products being packaged in “single serving” packaging. This makes it easy for you to provide your customer with what they need, in the packaging that they need it.


The concept of earth-conscious products is nothing new – yet it is not going anywhere. Your customers now expect you to package your products in packaging that is easy to recycle. It is reported that over 80% of customers are willing to pay more for eco-friendly options.

Here are some tips for making your customers and the environment happy:

  • Educate your customers on your sustainability initiatives by providing this information on your website and other branded materials (such as advertisements, signage, and even tags)
  • Consider reducing your packaging to only what is necessary
  • Poll your customers to see what type of sustainable options they prefer
  • Know your suppliers and where your products are coming from
  • Incorporate recycling information on your packaging so your customers know how to responsibly dispose of your products and packaging
  • Partner with a packaging fulfillment center that has a reputation for being environmentally friendly
  • Use corrugated packaging options which are sustainable, recyclable and durable


Packaging equipment has come a long way in the past decade. Automation has made it possible for companies to quickly and affordably package their products and get them out the door. If you don’t already have an automation program in your distribution center, 2020 is the year to jump on board. 

You have many options when it comes to automating your distribution center. At Hughes, we have an abundance of automated and semi-automated solutions to meet any and all demands. If you are ready to explore your automation options, contact a Hughes packaging expert today.

Success with Packaging in 2020

As you get ready for 2020, we want to help you be successful and continue to grow your business. 2020 is the year for change, and we are by your side to make sure that you start the year with ease and finish the year with higher profits.

Contact us today to discuss how Hughes Enterprises can help support the automated packaging systems and needs for your distribution company.