Navigating the 'New Norm': What's Next For Packaging?

As the world continues to evolve towards a ‘new norm’ amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the landscape of many industries and sectors has begun to look radically different. As consumer preferences continue to change and new buying habits begin to form, what does this mean for the future of packaging? Well, today we’re exploring exactly that, detailing what shifts and innovations we can expect to see in the design, manufacturing and use of packaging supplies in 2020’s ‘new norm’ and beyond.


The new kids are here to stay 

It’ll come as little surprise to learn that, in today’s socially distanced age, warning tape is one of the most in-demand items in the world. 

Whether it’s being used as visual prompts for social distancing or to create a distinctive separation between spaces in line with latest guidelines, hazard tape is popping up everywhere from the office to the local corner shop (you can learn more about how best to use warning tape to reinforce social distancing here).

With the world coming to terms with the prospect of a new normal, expect these new kids on the block to stick around for a while. Although governmental guidelines continue to change, it’s looking increasingly likely that social distancing is here to stay for the foreseeable - meaning hazard tape will continue to be a vital tool in the arsenal of businesses around the world. 


Sustainability will be redefined 

Consumer preference has been shifting towards more eco friendly packaging solutions for quite some time now, but amidst these unprecedented times, expect to see the very concept of sustainability redefined.

By this we mean that sustainable innovations in materials and design will have to be taken back to the drawing board to also accommodate a new pressing consumer preference: hygiene. 

Of course, sustainability and sanitation don’t necessarily go hand in hand. But as these two ‘megatrends’ not only represent the most pressing consumer concerns, but also present a great opportunity for brands to bolster their image, we expect industry leading innovators to reimagine the concept of sustainability as one that champions both safety and sanitation. 


Operations will be reimagined 

Undoubtedly the biggest change in the retail world across the last few months has been the emergence of eCommerce as king. 

With the uncertainty regarding the future of brick and mortar retail still very much real, online retail has predictably seen an unprecedented increase in traffic, even far surpassing holiday season peaks. 

So what does this mean for packaging? Well, first and foremost, expect to see more of it as ecommerce retailers look to fulfil an increased number of orders across the globe. Delving a little deeper, however, and we can also expect to see this have a knock-on effect on supply chain management and operations. 

Changing supply chain cost pressures and a sharp spike in demand of regional supplies, combined with an already damaged economy, will see businesses paying more attention than ever to cost-cutting possibilities. Cheaper packaging supplies could well be a solution for many businesses, so we’re predicting an increased focus on ‘lightweighting’, whether that be more space efficient packing or reconsidered material choices. 

Elsewhere, expect to see a rapid digitalisation of the supply chain to meet the increasing demands of the ecommerce industry. As AI becomes more readily integrated into warehouses across the world, so too will the introduction of technology into packaging. From RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags to NFC (near-field communications), the relationship between technology and packaging is set to come more intertwined than ever before.

We’re all still finding our feet in 2020’s new norm, and the packaging industry is certainly no different. But as business operations begin to pick up steam once more, one thing’s for sure - packaging, much like everything else, will never quite be the same again. 


To find out how No1 Packaging can help your business navigate the new norm with the right packaging supplies, why not get in touch with our friendly team of experts?


Navigating the 'New Norm': What's Next For Packaging?