Electronics and electrics are already used in packaging, from winking rum bottles and talking pizza boxes to aerosols that emit electrically charged insecticide that chases the bug. Electronic medication packs record how much is taken and when and prompts the user. Reprogrammable phone decoration has arrived. But that is just a warm up. The key enabling technology - printed electronics - often used with other conventional electronics - can make new packaging and product features feasible. Consequently, many leading brand owners have recently put multidisciplinary teams onto the adoption of the new paper thin electronics on their high volume packaging. It will provide a host of consumer benefits and make competition look very tired indeed. This is mainly about modern merchandising - progressing way beyond static print - and dramatically better consumer propositions.
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Consumer goods market for e-packaging devices in millions of units
This report reveals the global demand for electronic smart packaging devices is currently at a tipping point and will grow rapidly to $1.45 billion within 10 years. The electronic packaging (e-packaging) market will remain primarily in consumer packaged goods (CPG) reaching 14.5 billion units that have electronic functionality within a decade.
E-packaging addresses the need for brands to reconnect with the customer or face oblivion from copying. That even applies to retailer own brands. It addresses the ageing population's consequent need for disposable medical testers and drug delivery devices. Electronic packaging addresses the fact that one third of us have difficulty reading ever smaller instructions.
Main drivers of the rapid growth
The rapid growth will be driven by trials now being carried out by leading CPG companies and the rapid technical developments emanating for over 3000 organisations, half of them academic, that are currently working on printed and potentially printed electronics.
The six main factors driving the rapid growth of electronic smart packaging are:
Consumers are more demanding
Consumers are more wealthy
Concern about crime and the new terrorism
There will also be growth from existing applications such as talking pizza boxes, winking logos on multipacks of biscuits and bottles of rum, compliance monitoring blisterpacks in drug trials, prompting plastic bottles of drugs that prompt the user, testers on batteries and reprogrammable decoration on mobile phones. However, IDTechEx's projected adoption only represents a few percent of CPG packages being fitted with these devices in 2024.
There are still many challenges to be addressed, including creating sustainable e-packaging products rather than one-off projects. Cost and lack of integrators and complete product designers are current limitations.
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