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Attractive Packaging and its Influence on Purchasing Decisions

The impact of packaging on sales is indisputable – and measurable. Eighty-one percent of people said they have tried a new product based solely on the aesthetic qualities of a package, according to a 2018 study by the branding and research firm Reputation Leaders. 

Supermarket shoppers decide whether to buy a product in about 90 seconds, according to researchers in the Department of Business at the University of Winnipeg. Packaging is what helps them make up their minds – specifically attractiveness and color.

Brand managers looking for a way to increase sales should start with the design and printing of the packaging.


Packaging has two important jobs: make a product stand out and convey information. This is achieved through colors, images, brand names, health information and the packaging material itself.

Research indicates that roughly 60 to 90 percent of retail purchasing decisions are based on color alone, especially in the food sector.

Color is a major signifier of product type, quality and target market. For example, natural greens and rich earth tones often indicate natural, organic foods while wheat bread comes in brown, red or royal purple packages. Candy packages are bright and fun with colors that often mimic the flavors inside. On the other end of the spectrum, black, gold and silver packaging with minimalistic design denotes luxury and sophistication.


On the corporate side, major food producers frequently use packaging to increase sales and market share.

  • Cheez-It snack crackers: In 2015, the snack manufacturer made small changes to its packaging design and reaped a 6 percent increase. That increase translated to more than $50 million in sales over the next year – without a marketing push.
  • California Olive Ranch: A modernized design more effectively conveyed the brand’s Golden State roots and sustainable farming practices. Within a year, dollar sales soared 54 percent, bringing in nearly $15 million. The product achieved an increase in market share of more than 40 percent between 2015 and 2016 without a mass market campaign. 
  • Honest Tea, a Coca-Cola brand: A new design to move beyond the product’s base of health-conscious consumers increased year over year sales by 64 percent. 
  • Lean Cuisine: The company’s category sales had been in a multi-year decline. The former “diet” staple got a rebrand along with new packaging that sent sales up more than $58 million. The brand jumped from a 16.9 percent decline in sales to a 3.7 percent increase in just one year.


Packaging should be noticeable, attractive and solidly branded. According to Forbes successful packaging should pass “the 5-year-old test”: You should be able to describe your product to a 5-year-old and send the child into the store to get it. If he/she actually finds it, you’ll know that your packaging has created an iconic connection with customers.

To reach that level of effectiveness, all aspects of packaging have to work together. Developing a look that consumers notice and want to buy requires package designers, marketers and brand managers to ask the following questions:

  • Who are the intended buyers of the product?
  • What will catch their attention?
  • Is the look consistent with the brand’s reputation?
  • How does the packaging make the consumer feel?
  • Is the look strong enough to hold its own on the shelves?
  • Can the quality of the package be seen as reliable?

Consumers want quality in the packaging itself. The Reputation Leaders’ study indicated that 75 percent of consumers make decisions based on whether the package will leak or break, especially in transit. Another 76 percent look for packages that are easy to open and resealable.

Packaging is a critical part of the consumer decision-making process. An attractive package makes people pay attention. That positive first impression can lead to immediate sales as well as loyal returning customers. Paying due attention to packaging can attract more customers, help brands outpace the competition and improve the company’s bottom line.


Los Angeles-based Great American Packaging is a vertically integrated manufacturer of custom poly bags and film. After 50 years in operation, the company is still family owned and proud to maintain its core beliefs in customer collaboration, problem-solving and adherence to industry-best standards.

Our team is ready to assist with your package extruding, flexographic printing, converting (bag making) and consulting needs. Contact us through the form below or call us at 877-BUY-BAGS today.