First impression is crucial in building a consumer’s perception of a product. It is important to stand out among millions of products in the market. This is why companies have to plan their campaign well. Packaging can be one of the factors that determine a consumer’s purchasing preference. This does not only include design, but also information on ingredients, product origin and other labels.
In China, packaging is particularly crucial because it reflects the buyer’s tastes, which are often associated with social and economic status. More importantly, alcohol—especially imported alcohol in China—is often used as a gift. In China’s gift-giving culture, an appealing package represents the quality of the gift as well as that the giver values the relationship with the receiver.
Packaging in China
To localize product packaging based on the preference of the Chinese consumers, companies must determine where their inclinations lie in terms of color, patterns and other design components. This will give them the competitive advantages they need to stand out.
Colors have different associations in China. In general, bright and vivid colors are more appropriate for food and beverage products. Red and gold, however, are powerful colors in traditional Chinese culture because they signify good luck and wealth. Unsurprisingly, they are the ones that are the most used in the packaging of the products in the market.
This does not mean, however, that companies should exploit these colors just to give their products a hint of the Chinese essence. Selecting the right color palette for the packaging is crucial. At the end of the day, companies should choose the color that matches their product’s properties and brand image.
Label and Typeface
These are prominent visual elements and indispensable features on a product package. Foreign brands in China usually adopt Chinese brand names or at least a Chinese translation of the brand name that is easy to pronounce and remember. They also tend to include a Chinese typeface as part of the product logo to better communicate to the market.
Pictures, Patterns and Packaging
The product’s visual play a primary role in catching the eyes of buyers. There are times when the images and patterns in the packaging become the deciding factors in a consumer’s choice. Successful companies have learned to experiment with different designs before choosing the one that would appeal best.
Meanwhile, packaging materials should be carefully selected depending on the product’s nature, trends and preference of consumers. For instance, many have taken note of the growing number of Chinese consumers who are choosing to buy products with environmental-friendly packaging materials.
Trends in Alcohol Packaging in China
Metal Packaging for a Premium Image
In recent years, metal packaging formats have seen rapid growth in the region. Many Chinese have developed a preference for cans and metal bottles for their alcoholic beverages. The metallic luster of the material gives the product a more premium and sophisticated look, while the idea of the metal casing concealing the liquor inside also works.
Less is Classy
For China’s younger generations, classy and expensive looking designs are the best. Less is more for companies that go minimalist with clean and simple labels. This is to make the color and content of their products stand out. For wine bottles, the more expensive usually have traditional aesthetics like neutral colors and classic typefaces.
Conventional and Convenient
Amidst the latest packaging innovations like paper wine bottles and whiskey pouches, there are Chinese consumers who prioritize brands that have conventional designs and convenient, easy-to-open packaging. They also prefer those that promote overall responsible drinking by including clear and visible information about alcohol and calorie content in the packaging.
Packaging has incredible power over what people buy. It attracts attention, stimulates curiosity and builds a connection. The challenge for any company is to understand how the design components contribute to building a meaning product experience. For those planning to sell in China, this means reinterpreting their brand identity and creative concept through the eyes of their target consumers.