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What Do Millennials Look For in Product Packaging and Labeling?

July 10, 2019

The millennial generation is often blamed for struggling industries. But the reality is that the failure to appeal to millennial tastes comes down to the marketing and product quality of a given business.

It's certainly true that millennials look for different qualities in the brands they support than older generations might. Therefore, it's pivotal to understand what millennials want to see in the items they purchase.

Since first impressions are everything, your packaging and labeling matter a lot. And contrary to popular belief, millennials do care about the way items are displayed. They may love ordering items online, but it's not all about convenience; when businesses go the extra mile with their packaging and labeling -- whether in-store or online -- millennials will take notice.

That said, the old standbys you've relied on for packaging in the past may not be as effective with this younger generation. You may need to completely rethink the way you use custom labels and packaging types once you're more familiar with the elements that appeal to millennials.

Since millennials represent $600 billion in spending power every year, you can't afford to ignore their needs and preferences.

What Millennials Want to See in Product Packaging and Custom Labeling

Transparent Information

Approximately two-thirds of survey respondents check a product's custom labels often to see how high or low a food is in calories or how much fat, salt, and vitamins it contains. If you're working with a label printing company on a food product, you'll already understand how important it is to divulge nutritional information as part of your packaging and labeling.

But you can't stop there. Millennials will buy from brands they feel are honest and forthcoming. They want to see authenticity and know that your brand is making valuable contributions (e.g., supporting social change or environmental initiatives).

Millennials devour information and will go to great lengths to find it; the easier you can make it for the millennial customer to learn about your product and your company, the more likely it will be that they'll lend their financial support. Being vague or mysterious with your packaging or labeling won't do your brand any favors.

Clean Designs

Millennials are extremely visual, which means compelling design is essential. You can't get away with subpar label design, stock photos, or outdated fonts. You need dynamic photography, vibrant colors, and unique typography to grab their attention.

But be careful not to go too far. As much as millennials love nothing more than visual content, they're also inundated with it on a near constant basis.

More millennials are also embracing a more minimalist lifestyle, while others merely experience sensory overload. When working with your packaging and label printing company, don't underestimate the importance of white space and the harmful effects of clutter. A symmetrical, flat design that makes ample use of white space will likely have a greater appeal than a package that looks crowded with information and graphics.

Some nostalgic elements won't hurt either, so unique labels can be a real selling point if they're designed in a retro way.

Personal Connection

Some may argue that millennials don't understand the meaning of brand loyalty. Yes, millennials are willing to try new things -- which can be good news for your business -- but they're also loyal to brands that speak to their souls.

That's why telling a story is so crucial.

If you're able to share a compelling story through your product packaging and labeling, most millennials will get onboard. They love being able to forge connections (which is one reason they like social media so much) and will continue to support companies that nurture these interactions with customers.

Focus on developing something original that clearly states your "why" mission, rather than your "what." This is what resonates with millennials more than anything.


Working with an experienced label printing company will allow you to develop materials that will target millennial consumers, in particular. To learn more about how our label printing company can help you achieve your goals by appealing to millennials, please contact us today.

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