Those born between 1980 and 2000 are part of the millennial generation, which is the largest generation in decades — even bigger than the Baby Boomers. The Baby Boomers were made up of approximately 77 million, while the Millennials hit 92 million people. Although not all of them are quite of age yet, they’re very close. Those born in the year 2000 are close to graduating high school.

Companies would be wise to pay attention to the preferences and buying habits of Millennials when making decisions on how to package and market products. There are some key features you can add to your package designs that will specifically speak to this generation. The key is in understanding how the generation makes decisions and where their priorities lay. Here are six things millennials want from or care about in your product’s packaging.

1. What the Text Says

Millennials care about the message on your packaging as much as the aesthetics. Millennials are highly educated. The high school graduation rate is 72%, which is the highest in 20 years. About 68% of those who graduate go on to enroll in post-secondary education.

With that in mind, the text on packaging needs to be more than just surface claims. If you tell a millennial that an item is “new and improved,” you better be prepared to explain what’s new or improved, such as “twice as much antibacterial power.” They’re smart, savvy and can see right through inflated claims and half-truths.

2. Design Versus Price

Even though millennials are a more educated generation than ever before, that doesn’t mean they have a ton of money to throw around. A difficult economy has caused many of them to move back home, and they’re also putting off luxury purchases of homes and automobiles. Some make less money, and some are out of work. Others just prefer to spend their money on other things.

Around 30% of them state they’re not planning to purchase a car in the near future, and 25% said they might buy one if they needed it, but otherwise, they didn’t care if they owned a car. They would rather have a good deal on a product and save money than to see the luxurious packaging and pay a premium price. Their priorities, other than when it comes to electronics, are focused more on experiences and less on material goods.

3. Same as In-Store Products

Even though they are tech savvy, about 39% of young Millennials prefer to shop in a store rather than online. About 40% said they were more likely to buy a product online if they knew they could return that item to a local store.

Because so many millennials prefer in-store shopping, the product packaging should be identical no matter where it is. This might sound simplistic, but many companies use different packaging for items found on a store shelf for a variety of reasons, including the way the item displays. However, knowing Millennials’ penchant for shopping style, it becomes apparent that they want an in-store-like experience even online.

4. Colors Should Match Brand Colors

Even though you obviously want to create a product that will stand out on the shelf, you should also incorporate your brand’s colors in any product packaging designs. About 63% of millennials stay up to date with brands via social networking. Perhaps they’ve visited your website or looked at an ad a friend shared on social media.

It’s vital that you carry branding into packaging so everything looks the same and young consumers can easily spot the product on store shelves. Millennials want to glance at a shelf and know that the orange and blue package belongs to ABC Company.

5. Testimonials Matter

Millennials care a lot about what other people say about a brand or a product. About 48% allow their buying decisions to be influenced by word-of-mouth, and they even state this influences them more than a television ad of the product.

Although their first preference might be a friend telling them about a product, using testimonials from others in their generation, trusted spokespeople and even celebrities could have an impact. Put this information right on the packaging.

You should also offer the opportunity for millennials to review products right on your website or social media pages. This allows them to have a voice and gives them another way to engage with your company. Also, they can see what others are saying about your products, which may entice them to buy.

6. Be Honest

Millennials will see right through a company that inflates claims or isn’t honest about what a product can do. Making wild claims on your packaging, such as that it’s the “best cleaning product of all time” will turn them off.

The key is to be transparent and honest about your product in all your marketing, right down to your product packaging. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is — millennials are aware of that.


The millennial generation is unique. They’re the first generation raised with the technology we have today. They’re quite tech-savvy, but in general, they’re not materialistic, preferring to travel and have experiences rather than buy houses and cars. Marketing to this generation can be a challenge because it’s a diverse group with a lot of different interests and habits.

However, putting in the effort to market to them on their level is worth it because of the massive buying power base they provide that will continue to grow as more and more of them come of age.