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Adoption of augmented/virtual reality in packaging enables better consumer reach

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by B. Arun Srinivas , Research Analyst, Flexible Packaging
1 January 2017


The growing technological advancements and the correspondinguses in day-to-day applications highlight the growing demand from neo-consumer populacefor smart and interactive ways of purchasing / buying. Imagination has transitioned to reality with the advent of internet and smartphone applications. Our study looks to give an overview of the silent trend on the use of augmented / virtual reality in packaging. It provides direction to procurement officials on the usage and sourcing methodologiesavailable for implementation of such packaging for their brands / products.

Augmented / Virtual Reality in Packaging

Brands across the globe have realized the importance of smartphones and its influence in the purchasing decision of a buyer. More than 80percentof smartphone users use their device for assistancewith their shopping. The need for customer interactivity goesbeyond the stores. Brands such as McDonalds, Coca-Cola, and P&G have tried using augmented reality apps or providepackaging that converts to a virtual reality headset. Though primarily used as a marketing tool to attract consumer attention, the potential extends to gathering direct consumer data base which brand owners never had access to. Packaging serves as a medium of interaction between consumer and brand owner, with advent of augmented and virtual reality packaging the possibilities are limitless. This trend in packaging is gaining popularity due to the vast populous it attractswith over 2.6 billion smartphone users globally. In the U.S.alone, more than 68percentofthe adults use smartphones. India is the second largest smartphoneuser market with over 300 million users. The augmented reality market is expected to grow to over $161 billion and virtual reality over $17 billion by 2021. This is a potential ‘gold-mine’for brands to connect to a wider consumer base.

How is the technology implemented in packaging?

Labels or any printed material in the packaging serves as the gateway for implementing and using thistechnology. Right from barcode, dotted lines or logosencoded with AR/VR content,a plethora of opportunities exist for utilizing this technology in almost all packaging formats.

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