Intelligent Packaging: the new technology around which CPGs are swarming

Whether you call it “active packaging,” “smart packaging,” “e-packaging,” or “intelligent packaging,” the aisles of your favorite retailer will never be the same.

Imagine walking through a store aisle while various packages flash, display moving images, or talk to you. Or maybe you tear a coupon off of a label, hold it up to your mobile phone, and immediately discover you’ve won a promotional contest. Or you refill a prescription at your local pharmacy and discover the label not only has an embedded calculator to determine exact dosage but also monitors when medication is taken and can even prompt the user when it’s time to take it.

Welcome to the world of printed electronics and the future of packaging.

According to a recent white paper published by IDTechEx (who also holds the annual Printed Electronics Conference),  the global demand for electronic smart packaging devices is currently at a tipping point and will grow rapidly to $1.45 billion in 2023. The electronic packaging (e-packaging) market will remain primarily in consumer packaged goods (CPG), reaching 14.5 billion units that have electronic functionality by 2023.

From winking rum bottles (see above) to talking pizza boxes, electronics are already used in packaging, but that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. The key enabling technology – printed circuit boards – has seen some recent breakthroughs enable the fabrication of inexpensive, disposable, conveniently portable circuits and functional components. Consequently, many leading CPG brands have tasked multidisciplinary teams to find new ways of integrating paper thin electronics into their high volume packaging.

The benefits for retailers, consumer brands, and Charlotte marketing agencies? E-packaging lets you connect with shoppers in unheralded ways by disrupting the path to purchase with micro-targeted interactions. So buckle up and get ready for a louder, flashier, more interactive future of retail.

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