Top 5 ideas for shelf-ready Christmas product packaging

Christmas product packaging

Ecommerce might be growing at an explosive rate, but there’s still a huge opportunity for brands to win over customers in physical stores this festive season. Your Christmas product packaging could hold the key.

In 2017, Australian consumers were expected to spend more than $20 billion on grocery items over Christmas, with an increase of 3.27% in their food spending alone, according to the Australian Retailers Association (ARA).

We’ve talked before about the pros and cons of seasonal packaging. While it’s not for every brand, there are definitely rewards to be gained from looking at your Christmas product packaging with fresh eyes and finding ways to make it stand out this festive season.

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We’ve made our list and checked it twice – here are five ideas for shelf-ready packaging this holiday season:


Christmas product packaging instagram snapchat gifts

Gen Z shoppers will browse Instagram + Snapchat for the perfect Christmas gifts.

Tailor your Christmas product packagingto catch the eye of shoppers scrolling their social feeds rather than browsing store shelves.

This holiday season, Gen Z shoppers (i.e.aged between 17 and 22) are expected to be browsing their Instagram and Snapchat accounts in search of the perfect gifts, both for friends, family and themselves.

As the beauty industry knows, the more visually appealing your #packagingdesign, the more likely it will be shared and seen on social media. That could mean creating simple, minimalistic packaging (perfect if you have an all-natural or eco product) or something quirky and fun for the festive season.

Take inspiration from Otaika Valley Free Range Eggs (that’s right – eggs!); their Christmas label is delicate, festive and beautifully simple.


Christmas is one of the key self-treating occasions of the year, with food and beverages being one of the main ways to do this. Speaking at the Print 21+PKN L!VE event New Frontiers in Packaging Print, HP’s Conrad Mendoza said FMCG brand owners are currently dealing with a very “me-centric” consumer market. Trade and brand managers at Mars Wrigley Confectionary (Europe) told TalkingRetail that three chocolate treats are bought every second during Christmas and a higher degree of permissibility means treating is highly relevant at Christmas.If your product slots nicely into the treat category, use Christmas product packagingto emphasise this. Use words and images that evoke a feeling of nostalgia and indulgence – like the Woolworths Gold brand.


According to Nielsen, more adult Australians than ever (14.4 million)took to online retailers to search and shop over the 2017 Christmas period. And with news of Amazon’s move into food and beverage, there’s never been a more important time to make sure your packaging design delivers on both real and virtual shelves. This means ticking a few extra boxes:

  • Does it pass the ‘thumbnail test’? Simplicity and clarity are critical for online retailers.
  • Is it instantly recognisable? Aim for high-quality, hyper-vivid visuals.
  • Is product information clear, present and readable – even in micro? You need to satisfy consumers who are time-starved yet information-hungry.

Not green and red (though this would be festive); we’re talking about making your packaging sustainable. It might be the season for indulgence, but sustainability is still very important to shoppers. The millennial dollar is a key influencer here, but the issue with plastics and recycling have also captured the collective imagination and pushed sustainability higher in shopper priorities. It can also keep consumer’s interest for longer. In a study by US packaging companySonoco,natural-looking packaging held consumer interest for an average of 1.52 times as long as the control brands tested. At Christmas, this could be all it takes to win the sale.

Need inspiration for green packaging? Nestle has rolled out labelling to help consumers recycle correctly, with new labels on Allen’s lolliesin Australia and New Zealand. Check out what other brands are doing to make their packaging sustainable.


Use your design creatively by making your Christmas product packaginga collectable piece that people will want to buy next year, or even display. This is a great way to create a buzz around products that would otherwise not be seen as festive. For example, you wouldn’t say Corn Flakes are a festive food, but Kellogg’s has launched a limited edition Christmas Corn Flakes. Offering a slice of pop culture history,the box celebrates the legacy of painter Norman Rockwell with a legendary Santa Claus portrait (it’s available exclusively at Coles from 27 November).

Another brand getting into the Christmas spirit is Kleenex. Previous years have seen a limited edition tissue box holiday collection, including Christmas boxes specially shaped as a gingerbread house and a fireplace.

And they might not be festive, these Dubbo Royale pacific lagers prove the fun you can have with limited editions (The Royal Ginger, anyone?).


  • Creating Christmas product packaging doesn’t need to be expensive. Look at how Toblerone uses a seasonal-themed sleeve to cover up its usual packaging when it comes to Christmas. Did you receive or give a HO! HO! HO! Toblerone last Christmas? These playful bars increased the brand’s annual sales by 400% in 2006. Best of all,if the stock doesn’t sell, it’s only the sleeves that are wasted, not the product.
  • Use labelling for short-runs. Seasonal labels are a cost-effective way to add a festive feel to your products without changing the whole packaging design. High-resolution printers and labellers offer the advantages of flexibility, lower volume runs and quick turn-around times.
  • Another way to reduce waste with unsold stock is to think “seasonal”, not “festive”. In other words, use a summer theme rather than a Christmas theme. This gives your product more longevity on the shelves and avoids heavy discounting.
  • Stay true to your brand. Retain your core brand assets to ensure your brand identity remains strong, consumers can locate your product on the shelf and are confident in what they are buying.

Thinking about going festive with your product packaging? Talk to Matthews about your product labelling and high resolution printer requirements.

Know the difference between inkjet and laser coding? This free whitepaper explains how to compare these popular technology types so you know which is best suited for your application. Download Now


Looking for more information? Matthews’ resource library has lots of free-to-download information for Australian manufacturers.

Image credit: iStock/ 3d-Guru (main); iStock/ bigtunaonline (inset)

Matt Nichol
Matt is a laser marking expert and has in-depth knowledge of product ID technologies. He is a regular at international trade shows like Pack Expo and is constantly looking at emerging trends and technologies.
Matt Nichol

by Matt Nichol

Matt is a laser marking expert and has in-depth knowledge of product ID technologies. He is a regular at international trade shows like Pack Expo and is constantly looking at emerging trends and technologies.

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