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EMAC 2022 Annual

The Effect of Implicit Packaging Design - A Meta-Analytic Study

Published: May 24, 2022


Timpe Callebaut, KU Leuven; Kathleen Cleeren, KULeuven; Kelly Geyskens , Maastricht University


This research examines the differential effectiveness of implicit packaging elements (size, shape, material, color) on different phases of the consumer decision process (package perceptions, product performance inferences, consumer behavior). Results from a meta-analysis of 504 studies from 88 papers show that all packaging elements significantly affect consumers across the decision process. However, elements that are processed at an earlier stage (shape and size) have a larger impact on package perceptions than elements that are processed later (material and color). We also find that, following the matching effect, functional packaging elements (size and material) have a larger effect on product performance inferences and purchasing behavior, while aesthetic elements (shape and color) have a larger effect on consumption behavior. Furthermore, implicit packaging design is observed to be more influential on package perceptions than on later stages in the decision process, inferences and behavior.