is seasonal packaging worth it?

by: Sarah Kneebone

In a bid to boost sales and stay relevant, brands are investing more and more in creating seasonal packaging, costing them time, money and lots of creative juices - but is it really worth it?

In this post, we’ll share a run-down of the pros and cons of using seasonal product packaging, plus providing tips and key considerations for if you want to make it happen.

For even deeper insights on the world of packaging (and some secret insider tricks we've picked up over the years) download our 8 Secret Packaging Research Tricks. 

DOWNLOAD: Packaging - The Silent Salesman

So, you're thinking of following the trend and putting out a seasonal product? How do you know it it's worthwhile? Let's review some of the pros and cons of investing in seasonal packaging. 


The pros.

1. Test new innovations.

Seasonal events often offer a tactical opportunity to test new product innovations. Unusual flavour combinations, new textures, and most especially new packaging can all be tested under the guise of 'seasonal' offerings.

seasonal pack design


2. Increase revenue.

Sales can often be carried by consumers ‘holiday spirit’ and excitement. (How many times have you been suckered into the heart-shaped chocolates on Valentine’s Day?!)

The toy and confectionery market is particularly adept at this, artificially stimulating impulse buys with limited availability and ‘celebration’ packaging, cleverly supported by effective instore and above the line marketing.

3. Showcase different elements of your brand’s personality.

Got a heritage product which has looked the same for many years? A variation on the packaging and product can reinvigorate the product and inject vibrancy and creativity whilst retaining brand recognition, like Cadbury's Screme Egg.

Seasonal packaging

If you're considered to be a sensible or traditional brand, you might be better off doing something more radical. Toblerone did away with their brand name entirely one year, replacing it instead with a seasonal greeting of 'Ho! Ho! Ho!’ - and saw
annual sales rise by 400% as a result. 


4. Attract a new market segment. 

Seasonal packaging can bring in new consumers who wouldn’t typically buy your product or brand, particularly if you're licensing a character of brand. Leveraging equity from a licensed property can drive emotional resonance with new audiences, translating to repeat purchasers once they’ve tried your product.

Seasonal pack design

5.  Promote gifting and collectability (yep, it's a word).

Certain holidays tap into consumers emotions, like Christmas and Easter (because #chocolate). If the packaging makes the product feel like a suitable gift option, you may see an increase in purchase. Likewise, product packaging that feels unique and collectable can also drive significant uplift in sales, like this limited edition Stella Artois. 

Christmas seasonal pack design


The cons.

1. Predicting customer trends.

It can be hard to accurately anticipate the changing wants and needs of consumers when thinking about pack and product design for seasonal events. How do you know if consumer trends are enduring, deep-rooted changes in taste and behaviour or simply fleeting fads? Bringing in a market researcher to help with sensory and pack testing at concept stage can minimise risk and sidestep expensive mistakes. 


2. Getting market cut-through during peak seasons.  

It's Christmas, and the shops are awash in red, green and gold. How do you differentiate your seasonal offering amidst a sea of homogeneous colour? Sometimes following the crowd can bite you in the you-know-where. Knowing when to go against the grain and when to lead the pack is a much about understanding your customers as it is about understanding your competitors. 


3. How to accurately predict stock levels. 

Nobody wants to be left with stack of Valentine's Day products when the heart-filled event is over. Mitigating risk of unsold stock and the perils of predicting demand can be offset through the use of more ambiguous messaging (think ‘summer drink’ rather than ‘Australia Day party drink’. Cheers to that!).


It's a wrap.

Seasonal packaging and event-based pack promotions can really work to spark affinity and connection to your brand. 

Use it as your opportunity to experiment. Spread your wings and create innovative, exciting and on-brand pack experiences for your customers. They'll thank you for it. 


Over to you.

Packaging research is one of PLAY's specialities (and passions). Over the years, we've carried out pack tests for many of the biggest FMCG and retail brands in the world.

If you'd like to test your seasonal pack designs, drop us a line at We'd love to help you achieve great results.

Want an overview of the most important stuff? Download our 8 Secret Packaging Research Tricks now! 

DOWNLOAD: Packaging - The Silent Salesman


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about the author

Sarah Kneebone

Sarah is PLAY’s go-to content writer with a passion for marrying creativity and communication with clever strategy. A former marketer with PLAY and for international brands such as QBE Insurance and General Motors, Sarah moved home to the UK to raise her little family and start a health coaching business. Luckily for us, she continues to share her talent for the written word with the team in Australia.

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