Last updateSun, 19 May 2024 9am

Research conducted by SharpEnd, Fedrigoni and Censuswide offers industry-first insights into market trends for connected solutions in the UK and the US

85% of brands will increase investments in Near Field Communication and connected packaging over the next 12 months to achieve their sustainability goals

SharpEnd, in collaboration with Fedrigoni, presents its new Connected Experience Report, a survey conducted among c-suite executives of more than 1,000 global brands. These spanned across beverage, healthcare and wellness and CPG sectors in both US and UK markets. The report looked into how brands are engaging consumers through connected experiences. Key findings from the report include:

96% of brands surveyed consider connected packaging to be an important component in their marketing strategy and 92% say that first party data, i.e. data collected through these technologies directly by the brand, is a key strategic factor.

85% of brands are willing to pay more to integrate Near Field Communication (NFC) into their products and again 85% of them will increase their investments in connected products over the next 12 months.

93% will use connected packaging solutions to support their sustainability programmes over the next two years, as there is a strong belief (85%) that connected packaging can help achieve ESG goals.

Alcoholic beverages (84%), CPG (67%) and healthcare (58%) are the three sectors with the highest willingness to experiment with new connected packaging, mainly in the UK. On average, 70% of the survey respondents share that they use NFC technology for their products or marketing strategies.

The sector planning the most investments within one year (88%) and most willing to pay for NFC solutions (90%) is the alcoholic beverages sector, while the healthcare and wellness industry lead the way when it comes to using QR codes and NFC to offer product information to consumers (60%). On the other hand, when discussing sustainability, consumer goods show the strongest indicators. 89% of survey respondents believe that connected packaging would help them achieve ESG goals and 94% say that connected experiences would be an ideal tool to provide more comprehensive information about sustainable initiatives.

SharpEnd is a global solutions company focused on helping brands and their suppliers connect each stage of the customer journey. In January 2024, SharpEnd started an important partnership with Fedrigoni - one of the leading players in the production of speciality paper, premium self-adhesive materials and RFID solutions. This partnership will allow SharpEnd to develop new products and high-performance integrated solutions using NFC and RFID technologies.

At the moment, QR codes are the most recognised packaging technology integration, with the demand for QR codes (95%) and NFC (93%) being very high among consumers. The CER report however shows a growing interest in the use of NFC technologies. The move towards NFC could be further boosted by better educating brands on its uses and advantages. 85% of survey respondents believe their suppliers can insert NFC tags into products and packaging, while only 51% believe they are doing so, suggesting significant room for growth.

The emphasis on “value-added digital experiences” shown by consumers is attracting brands that, in turn, want to increase their capabilities to collect first party data. Their aim being to gain direct insight into how, where and why consumers interact with their products. Traditionally this data was challenging for brands to access, as it was held by retailers who acted as intermediaries between brands and consumers. Connected packaging technologies have made it possible for brands to get closer to consumers through virtual or mixed reality experiences. With this added proximity, brands are able to independently generate their first party data to be used for multiple purposes: from improving or designing new products, to better understanding their audience and optimising marketing budgets.

In terms of sustainability, although there is a very high desire to use connected packaging to achieve ESG goals, 72% of brands are concerned about seeing their initiatives labelled as “greenwashing”. This stresses a need for brands to adopt technology they trust, which allows them to share their product in a credible and trustworthy way. Including information about the product (59%) and any awards won (56%) are the most common ways for companies to promote their ESG initiatives through connected packaging technologies.

The report also delves into the future of packaging technologies, including legislative and policy changes that could have an impact on certain sectors: The brands surveyed, believe that digital triggers on packaging could become mandatory for certain areas, such as sustainability credentials (50%), authentication (46%), ingredients, geographical provenance (44%) and legitimisation of product claims (42%).

“The results of this survey uncover a very promising trend, confirming our long term vision”, says Antonio Linardi, Fedrigoni's RFID Business Director. “We are witnessing an exponential growth of connections between the physical and the digital worlds, inevitably resulting in the need for connected solutions - tailored to both companies and consumers. This interest is paving the way for significant innovations throughout the industry, and strengthens our position as strategic partner for brands interested in smart packaging and labels, based on NFC and RFID technologies”.

Cameron Worth, SharpEnd’s CEO says: “We’ve done a lot to build this industry over the last ten years and independent research has been fundamental in helping to educate brands about the possibilities. I’m happy to present the second volume of our independently conducted Connected Experience Report, and thankfully the data is on our side with brands clearly to scale.”



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