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Damaged packaging a potential source of serious revenue loss

23 November 2012

  • Fewer than one in 10 UK consumers expect to pay full price for products with damaged packaging
  • However, damaged packaging does not reflect badly on brand quality for most people

London, 23rd November 2012 – New research conducted by Canadean Consumer has revealed that damaged packaging plays a monumental role in the buying behaviour of UK consumers. More than a third of consumers would never buy a food item or a health/beauty product if the packaging was compromised, while virtually half would never buy a drink in the same circumstances. This places huge pressure on industry players, affecting product design and distribution.

Results from a survey of 2,000 respondents in the UK has emphasised how much of a role packaging plays on whether a product is purchased – before the design and aesthetics are even taken into consideration.

Only 8% of respondents said they would pay a normal price for a food product with damaged packaging, with a further 55% saying they would still purchase it but expect to pay a discount. Similarly, 10% of consumers would pay full price for a health/beauty product in a damaged package, but 54% would only do so if they had to pay less.

The biggest impact is in the drinks industry, where tamper-proof packaging is a much bigger issue. Here, only 7% would buy a drink for full price regardless of any damage to the packaging, and only 44% would do so if they got a discount. Females (6% at full price) have revealed themselves to be fussier than males (9% at full price).

Mark Whalley, Lead Consultant at Canadean Consumer, claims the results should act as a warning signal to manufacturers: “Consumers vote with their wallets when it comes to product packaging. We’ve found that around five times as many consumers will only buy at a discount as those who would pay full price – it is something they evidently have very strong views on.  

“Manufacturers who do not make special efforts to ensure that their products reach the shelf in pristine condition are potentially missing out on a lot of money. These results suggest that investing budget into optimal packaging design can pay for itself very quickly; while evaluating every part of the distribution process to identify where improvements can be made can also save on products that never get sold.”

The good news for brands is that consumers tend to consider the freshness of the individual product, rather than letting the damage alter their perception of the brand itself. Indeed, only 8% of food buyers refuse to buy food products in damaged packaging because they think it suggests a poor quality brand.

Damaged packaging a potential source of serious revenue loss

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