Packaging is playing a growing role in branding, and many consumer packaged goods companies (CPGs) are likely to increase their investments in packaging design during 2017, according to a recent survey of BRANDPACKAGING readers. The poll, conducted in December, drew responses from a cross section of professionals involved in packaging and design, representing a wide variety of product types ranging from food and beverage to cosmetics and electronics.

In their responses, most participants cited the need for better packaging due to increased and varying customer needs. They indicated that packaging is the most immediate way to communicate with shoppers and to create a relationship through better customer engagement. As one respondent stated: “Our brand relies on its packaging to attract, educate and delight customers while protecting our product. If our packaging fails, our brand is impacted.”

With the economy’s revival during the last two years, 79 percent say they have seen their company’s sales grow, with an average increase of12.5 percent. Only 5 percent said their companies saw sales decreases in the 2015-16 timeframe. This highly competitive marketplace demands attractive and functional packaging.

The good news is that 51 percent of those participating in the survey expect their companies to allocate more resources to sales and marketing during 2017. In a sign that many CPGs are looking to improve their brand images, 43 percent say that companies are likely to increase spending on creative and design-related services.