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Study: Consumers prefer clear plastic packaging

November 1, 2012

GORDONSVILLE, VA. (Nov. 1, 9:25 a.m. ET) — Kl"ckner Pentaplast of America Inc. has issued results of a study it funded showing that products in clear plastic clamshell packaging are more than 400 percent more attractive to consumers than identical products in printed paperboard boxes.

The results showed that plastic clamshell-packaged items were easier to find, and were viewed more often and for longer than printed paperboard boxes. Participants were four times more likely to purchase the plastic-packaged items than the equivalent paperboard-packaged items, according to the results.

The research was conducted by Clemson University in Clemson, S.C. The study involved 68 participants ranging in age from 18 to “over 65,” 76.5 percent of whom identified themselves as the primary shopper for their household, and with a “fairly diverse” income distribution.

Each participant was fitted with a pair of lightweight glasses made by Tobii Technology AB, a Danderyd, Sweden-based eye-tracking specialist, and tasked with choosing particular items from a re-creation of a shopping environment called the CUShop. They were asked to find a men’s razor, an electric toothbrush and an air freshener. There was only one type of each of these products but each was presented in two forms of packaging: clear plastic clamshell and printed paperboard boxes.

The experiment was carried out over two days. The shelf order of the packages was swapped on the second day to eliminate any bias based on positioning.

The subjects’ eye movements were measured 30 times a second. The experiments found that clear plastic clamshell packages were fixated on for 343 percent longer than paperboard equivalents; clear plastic clamshell packages received 675 percent more fixations than paperboard packages; clear plastic clamshell packages were found 40 percent faster than paperboard packages and clear plastic clamshell packages were purchased 402 percent more than paperboard packages.

Klockner Pentaplast of America is based in Gordonsville.