Packaging Innovation
July 4, 2014

“Blue for boys, pink for girls?” – Packaging and the question of gender

According to a research by EasyFairs, organizers of the trade fair Packaging Innovations London 2014, women are more susceptible to gender specific packaging. 43% of those polled favored “branded personality” packaging and 37% of marketers said that girls are more likely to purchase a product because of the way it is packaged. So what about the call for gender neutral packaging? Should manufacturers just ignore it?

In 2013 Marks & Spencer agreed to make the packaging of all its toys gender neutral by spring 2014, after customers complained its toys marketing strategy was highly stereotyped. Despite these efforts gender specific packaging still thrives on supermarket shelves around the world. And with good reason, as the latest research suggests.

“Women more likely to be attracted to gender specific packaging”

EasyFairs, the trade fair organizer company behind Packaging Innovations London 2014, asked a panel of 500 marketing professionals about their experiences with gender specific packaging. As it turns out, 43% of those polled agreed that gender specific packaging has a stronger effect on women, being more likely to purchase a product because of the way it is packaged. This idea hardly poses a problem for product categories such as cosmetics and fashion – typically “female products” – yet might be harder to defend when toys manufacturers blindly follow the adage “Blue for boys” and “Pink for girls”.

Gender packaging: good or bad?

The question is: “Is gender packaging responding to what boys and girls generally prefer, or is it really a case of stereotyping that should be avoided at all costs?” In other words: is an increase in gender neutral packaging necessary and will it result in an increase in sales? Whatever the answer, there is no denying that brand personalities – a set of values with which consumers identify – play a crucial role in product marketing. Many brands work hard to attract a specific gender group, as it’s a tempting way to differentiate it from other similar brands.

What is your opinion on gender specific packaging and could we do without? Have your say in the comments below.