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Shoppers Reveal the Packaging & Labeling Techniques that Grab their Attention

September 22, 2017

Our August 2017 consumer survey provides new insights into how shoppers respond to packaging and labeling on a crowded store shelf.

Brands, marketers and manufacturers constantly strive to understand consumer behavior— they struggle to measure and understand what matters to their prospective customers and what doesn't.   Research shows that the motives behind the scrutiny of labels are complex and thus can be difficult to quantify.

Our August 2017 survey of 400 U.S. men and women, aged 18-65 (with an average age of 43) brings some much needed insight into their shopping behaviors, by uncovering the specific packaging & labeling features that most draw their attention to a product on the shelf and make them more likely to buy it.

These insights reveal that a product’s packaging and label design are more important than one might think.

Top 2017 Packaging and Labeling Statistics:

  • 90% of shoppers are more likely to buy a product with a peel-off instant savings coupon attached.
  • 59% of shoppers say a peel-off label (coupon, recipes) on a product draws their attention to it.
  • 68% of shoppers notice peel-off labels because they physically “stick out” from the package.
  • 56% of shoppers say a recognizable logo draws their attention to a product.
  • 53% of shoppers say bright attractive colors draw their attention to a product.
  • 33% of shoppers are inclined to reject a product when they don’t like the label.
  • 60% of shoppers are unlikely to buy a product when the label doesn’t provide enough information.
  • 56% of shoppers are more likely to choose a product that uses eco-friendly/sustainable packaging over a similar product that does not.

The responses reveal the true importance of producing packaging and labeling techniques that are not just visually compelling but functionally optimized to deliver the information that consumers seek. This survey data gives manufacturers and brand marketers a greater understanding of how effective packaging and labeling can capture shoppers’ attention and influence their buying behavior.

Give the People What They Want: Customers Love Peel-Off Instant Savings Coupons

Which Labels Attached to a Product Would Make you More Likely to Buy It

When it comes to enticing customers to buy, offering immediate savings via a peel-off coupon is the way to go. 90% of consumers say they’re more likely to buy a product that has a peel-off instant savings coupon attached to the package.

While a peel-off coupon is by far the most popular type of peel-off label, mail-in rebates entice 25% of consumers and a contest or a sweepstakes comes in at 24%. 22% say that an informational label such as a recipe or serving suggestion on the label makes them more likely to buy.  QR codes on a label, which require an extra step of scanning the code and visiting a webpage, do not register high as a motivator for consumers.

The Big Three: Peel-Off Labels, Familiar Logos and Bright Colors

Which Packaging & Labeling Features Draw your Attention to a Product on the Shelf

Shoppers really like peel-off labels! A peel-off label adhered to the package, such as a coupon or a recipe, gets the attention of 59% of consumers. 56% are attracted to labels with a recognizable logo, and 53% say that they’re drawn to packages and labels with bright, pleasing colors. Photos of the product on the packaging label attract 41% of shoppers and large print attracts the attention of 40%.

Though most Americans are concerned about the environment, only 24% say that environmentally friendly packaging grabs their attention (though to be fair, eco-friendly packaging is not always obvious). A small segment, 14%, is attracted to a shiny, glossy package.

Characteristics of a Standout Label

What About a Peel Off Label (Coupon, Recipes) Makes it Noticeable

68% of consumers notice peel-off coupons because they “stick out” from the package. 33% say a peel-off label looks different compared to the other labels on the shelf and 33% say it breaks up the print and images on the package. Peel-off labels can help your brand and product stand out in the sea of labels on the store shelf.

Packaging that Gets a Thumbs Down

What Characteristics of a Product's Packaging Can Make you Decide NOT to Buy It

When customers reject a product because they were turned off by the label design, what motivates that decision?

60% say it is because the label did not present enough information about the product. 44% are likely to reject packaging simply because it’s an unfamiliar brand or manufacturer. 37% report that might decide not to buy if the packaging has unappealing photos or no photos at all. While there are a variety of other factors that can drive customers away, the key takeaway here is clear: the visual aspect of your label design matters.

Great Product…But That Label

Have you Ever Decided NOT to Buy a Product Because of the Label

32% of consumers have disliked a label so much that they decided not to buy the product.  This significant number further confirms that the product label is critically important in attracting shoppers’ attention, and it has a powerful impact on buying behavior.

To avoid making a big and expensive mistake with your product label, conduct market research so you can make informed design decisions—customer personas based on your ideal customer attributes such as age, income, gender, interests, education, values, etc. can help steer you in the right direction. This will also help you understand exactly what information your customer wants to see on the label.

Mixed Messages About Eco-friendly Packaging

Are you Inclined to Choose a Product with Eco-Friendly Packaging

56% of consumers are inclined to choose a product that uses eco-friendly/sustainable packaging over a similar product that does not. However, note that in a previous question, only 20% said they might not buy a product if it appears to be wrapped in wasteful packaging (i.e., not eco-friendly). And perhaps the most interesting piece of data: 68% of survey respondents said they would NOT pay more for products that use sustainable/eco-friendly packaging.

A Pew Research Center survey found that, among U.S. adults, 75% say they are particularly concerned about helping the environment as they go about their daily lives, but the Luminer survey found that most are not willing to pay a premium for eco-friendly packaging.

Key Takeaways for Brand Managers and Packaging Engineers

Instant savings coupons present a huge opportunity to entice a shopper to try your product.

With 9 out of 10 shoppers saying a peel-off instant savings coupon makes them more likely to buy a product, it is clear that these type of multi-ply labels are a huge hit with shoppers.  Use these strategically to attract new customers who may otherwise stick with their go-to brand.

Use a peel-off label to pull shoppers’ attention away from the more established brands.

It's not just instant savings coupons that get results.  59% of shoppers say ANY peel-off label adhered to a product draws their attention - even more so than a recognizable logo (56%) or bright packaging colors (53%).  Enhance your food packaging with booklet labels containing recipe ideas, or peel-off labels with grilling suggestions.  The possibilities are endless.

Make sure your label provides detailed information about your product.

60% of consumers are likely to reject a product if the label does not provide enough information about the product, and 37% are deterred by inadequate photos and small text on the label. Learn as much as you can about your customers and potential customers so you can understand their motives and design your label accordingly.  Use creative label solutions such as expanded content labels (ECL) - which include peel-and-reseal, foldout and booklet labels - to provide detailed information about your product in a small space.

Consider using eco-friendly packaging to broaden your appeal.

Though a majority of consumers stated they would not pay more for eco-friendly packaging, a significant percentage (56%) said they are inclined to choose a product that uses eco-friendly/sustainable packaging over a similar product that does not.  So consider whether the use of recycled materials and more streamlined constructions can be incorporated into your packaging.


While the data shows that many consumers look for familiar brands, that doesn't mean that lesser known brands are out of luck. When your logo and brand don’t have the name recognition of your competitors (yet), the survey shows that there are plenty of things you can do to can make shoppers stop and take notice.

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