Christmas packaging: brand is more important than design

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Product packaging can influence the buying decision process. Does Christmas packaging really help to increase sales?


The Department of Packaging in Cracow University of Economics conducted a study on seasonal packaging linked to particular periods of the year, specifically Christmas time. The main purpose of the research was analysing the consumers’ unconscious choices in front of similar products from different brands and with different packs.


In the field of marketing, packaging is how to wrap a product according to customer expectations, desires and needs.

Often it happens that the consumer transfers the image of the package to the product and the brand.

Since 2012 we have witnessed a growth of seasonal packaging, associated with the festivity. Large companies, such as Starbucks and Coca Cola, began to take this opportunity to establish a connection with their consumers.

This research involved the participation of 300 subjects (60% women and 40% men) observed during the purchase of chocolates for Christmas shopping.


In order to measure preferences and distribution of the visual attention of consumers two tools were employed: a questionnaire and the Eye Tracker.

Through the questionnaire, the partecipants rated price, packaging and brand on a scale from "acceptable" to "not acceptable", according to their expectations. 

By means of the Eye Tracker Tobii X2-60, extensively used in Neuromarketing, the researchers measured the partecipants’ eye movements. In order to identify which elements captured their attention, the subjects were placed in front of a shelf while their reaction was being measured. 


The questionnaires’ results reported a positive behaviour towards the standard / traditional packaging compared to Christmas packaging. In particular, over 61% of women and about 77% of men evaluated the traditional packaging "highly acceptable".

Another interesting evidence, detected thanks to the questionnaires, refers to the shape of the pack: women are more attracted to packages that have particular / unusual shapes than men.

According to the consumers, the most important characteristics were the following:

  • The material
  • The size
  • The weight

Regarding colour, a preference for typical Christmas colours emerged: white with gold, white with red shades, red and green with gold.

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Consumers considered most important two elements: logo and product information.

The Eye Tracker’s results showed that seasonal graphic elements (related to Christmas) did not generate much attention.
Among all the tested brands, “Merci” with the standard packaging (without seasonal elements) was the one that captured the highest level of attention.

Moreover, smaller packs (even if strongly related to the Christmas theme) were not noticed by the participants.

According to the results brand recognition and brand loyalty turned out to make the difference, in combination with buying habits.


The integration of eye tracking data and questionnaire data showed a significant preference for simple and traditional packs on the majoriry of participants.

Specifically, consumers prefer larger and more transparent packaging, possibly with seasonal graphic elements presented in an essential way.

The advice is to take advantage of marketing opportunities remaining focused on key aspects, specifically brand recognition, which remains the most important aspect anyway.
Indeed the packaging must convey the image of the brand, before that of anniversaries or festivities.

The use of themed packaging can represent a benefit if one doesn’t lose sight of the product’s identity and of the brand.  



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