Urbanisation Radar:  the retail of packaged consumer goods

​How is urbanisation affecting the way families and individuals live in the modern city, and what are the effects of these changes upon packaged consumer goods?

2/2018 TEXT: IAN FENTON, IMAGE: SHUTTERSTOCK

​Today in developed economies we can see the mature stages of an urbanised environment, and the effects this setting has upon lifestyle and consumption. 

For example, households are smaller, both in terms of physical space and number of occupants. Euromonitor has predicted that by 2030, urban households globally will contain an average of three persons while their rural equivalents will average 4.4 persons. The urbanised environment also sees a growing number of single-person households. 

This has diverse implications. It sets the scene for the sharing economy, for one thing. Flat sharing becomes a convenient accommodation model in this situation. And in terms of transport, car-sharing services and the increased optimisation of public transport are stimulated.

As car ownership decreases hand-in-hand with these trends, this naturally has an effect on how consumers shop. While hypermarkets outside the city centre are still growing, that growth has slowed, in favour of other channels. 

The retail setting is diversifying, and the city dweller can be expected to make more of their purchases from small, locally situated shops – and more frequently, as the weekly car-enabled shop is no longer a convenience nor (with declining vehicle ownership) a possibility. Large discounter chains are also increasingly prevalent within city centres.

These varied retail channels give rise to varied packaging needs. Packages themselves are becoming more diverse to suit the new demands, from the retail-ready corrugated card boxes required by the hypermarket to smaller package sizes oriented towards local grocery chains, and effective multi-pack solutions for the discounters. At the same time busy consumers find e-commerce an increasingly convenient way to shop. With this channel taking more and more market share, further new requirements are brought to bear on packaging – a topic we will explore in more depth in our next instalment.

A shifting work/life balance is also characteristic of the urbanised environment, particularly in the case of millennials. The lines between work time and free time are blurring, with individuals increasingly likely to work at home (thereby avoiding transport issues altogether).

Being busy around the clock means eating on the go and taking advantage of ready-made meals, another opportunity for small shops and local retailers, and a category of course, with its own set of very specific packaging needs.

Finally, studies have shown that, in most countries, students performed better academically in urban settings than their rural counterparts, demonstrating that concentrated educational resources have distinct advantages. In terms of consumption, we could posit that better educated citizens make more demanding customers – an indication that the packaging needs of the city dweller will continue to stimulate innovation even further.


Read more about the topic:
Urbanisation Radar: an introduction
Markku Leskelä's blog post about urbanisation

Related articles

Most popular articles

  • Blueberries

    2018/ Customers

    Capturing the Arctic through design

    ​Designed in cooperation with Metsä Board’s packaging and design services, Arctic Blue Gin’s new package reflects the pure Arctic ambience.

    Read More
  • Ecobarrier

    2018/ Products and services

    Going green on the go

    ​Answering to the packaging needs of a growing market for takeaway food, Metsä Board’s new eco-barrier paperboard offers a sustainable and cost-efficient option.

    Read More
  • Packaging design study sketch

    2018/ Markets and trends

    Comparison between plastic and fibre packaging - what do consumers say?

    Views are changing on what is considered luxury. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of environmental issues, and many want their purchases to reflect these values. Accordingly, modern luxury brands are looking for ways to make their goods desirable for both customers and the planet. And according to a recent consumer survey, that’s also good for the business.

    Read More
  • Zirp insects packaging design

    2018/ Products and services

    Sustainable superfood in sustainable and safe packaging

    ​Insects are considered a common element of human nutrition in many regions around the world. In Europe, too, snacks and dishes made of arthropods are becoming popular. No wonder given the fact that they are rich in nutrients, beneficial to the environment and efficient to breed. Zirpinsects, the manufacturer of ZIRP insect snacks, packs its dried mealworms, grasshoppers and crickets in a sustainable folding carton made of Metsä Board’s fresh fibre board – for a natural, sustainable and consistent product presentation.

    Read More
  • E-commerce box

    2018/ Markets and trends

    Urbanisation Radar: online retail

    ​How is online retail transforming the requirements of today’s consumer packaging?

    Read More
  • Helsinki Distilling Company

    2018/ Products and services

    Natural is the new luxury – in both the products and packaging

    ​Finnish craft distillery The Helsinki Distilling Company combines a true respect for raw materials with an uncompromising attention to detail. Their White Dog new-make spirit and its packaging both communicate a brand aesthetic where the raw and uncut meets a luxurious finish.

    Read More
  • Hershey's packaging

    2018/ Products and services

    Lightweight packaging for dreamy delights

    ​When Hershey was looking for a more sustainable, lightweight and efficient solution for their Cookies & Chocolate secondary package, Metsä Board’s design team was keen to take on the challenge. 

    Read More
  • Paperboard packaging

    2018/ Markets and trends

    Lighter weight paperboards are changing the game in the US

    ​Superb customer service and a superior product are gaining Metsä Board a strong foothold in the US market. Customers in the US embrace better, lighter and faster solutions.

    Read More
  • Arrow box art by Jo Di Bona

    2018/ Markets and trends

    Adapting to e-commerce

    ​The global e-commerce market is growing at double digit growth rates. Increasing e-commerce offers numerous opportunities for packaging suppliers, but also challenges, as online shopping places new requirements on packaging.

    Read More
  • Urban city view

    2018/ Markets and trends

    Urbanisation radar: paperboard demand

    ​What kind of packaging solutions do urban consumers want, and how is urbanisation affecting the demand for paperboard? 

    Read More
  • Iiro Numminen

    2018/ Products and services

    Better with less – design challenge winners talk about their innovations

    ​In Metsä Board’s Better with Less – Design Challenge, innovative solutions for frequently used consumer packages were gathered from entrants around the world. A key focus area in the competition was in creating better experiences for consumers while reducing the environmental impact of the packaging in general.

    Read More
  • Demand for paperboard packaging is increasing in Asia

    2018/ Markets and trends

    Urbanisation radar: Hyper-convenience

    ​Demographic shifts - with more urban, single, carless, digitally enabled yet time-starved or physically restricted consumers - are driving the demand for faster and more convenient shopping and consumption.

    Read More
  • Urbanisation and sustainable packaging

    2019/ Markets and trends

    Urbanisation Radar: What is sustainable packaging?

    Sustainability is a major trend, and is now considered a ‘must-have’ in packaging business. Several studies demonstrate that consumers prefer sustainable packaging and are willing to pay extra for it. But what actually makes a packaging sustainable?

    Read More
Print