Product Packaging: The Psychological Influences Behind Our Purchasing Decisions

Chris Tilbury 2m 590

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Product Packaging: The Psychological Influences Behind Our Purchasing Decisions
We buy products for a whole host of reasons, from their usefulness and usability to being part of a new trend.

What we quite often don’t realise is that staggering sums of money have been spent trying to make us buy those products by the brand owners. How exactly does the packaging affect our decisions?

There are a number of factors that influence the decisions made by consumers on a day-to-day basis with regards to product packaging. Colour, shape and design are all essential and here is why.


Branding and packaging designers across the world will tell you that colour is the single most important visual cue for a product. Colours are associated with emotional states; green and jealousy and red for anger for instance.

The colours of a products packaging should match the target market and of course the product. This is the main reason for confectionary aisles of supermarkets being so brightly coloured, so that children are taken aback by the variety.

There has also been a series of trends developing in the last few years that focus on the colour of product packaging. Green has become the colour of healthy products. By making the packaging green and showing how few calories there are in the product has seen some products take off in popularity.


The design of a products packaging can give significant hints towards the target market of the product. Take Tab Energy drink as an example, they compete with huge global brands like Red Bull and Monster Energy. Where they succeed though is in the design of their products packaging.


Tab Energy is presented in a taller, thinner can than other energy drink brands. It suggests to the consumer that the product is, perhaps, healthier than the available alternatives. It also gives the consumer something different to look at and to feel when holding the can.

Not only that, it could be a clever piece of marketing by the brand’s owner, Coca-Cola. Making the can thinner means that they can display more cans in supermarkets where space is a premium, the bright colour of the can also attracts the customer.

It is subtle changes like this that can greatly influence the mind of a consumer.


In any discussions about the shape of product packaging, one product is always mentioned, Toblerone. The triangular shape of the packaging, and the product, has been its defining feature and one of the key components that have led to its success.

Interesting packaging shapes are one way to attract the interest of a customer. Square packaging is considered conventional, but it also makes the product easier to arrange and present on shelves.

Ultimately, all of these factors are linked. If the colours make the product look attractive a consumer will pick the product up. If the consumer picks the product up and the design of the product feels familiar, but there is something slightly different, like the elongated can of Tab Energy, the customer is intrigued. Finally, if the product feels nice to hold and presents the contents in an effective way, they are likely to want to buy it; it’s ticked all the right boxes in their mind.

If you have any more reasons why packaging influences our purchasing decisions then why not leave them in the comment box below.

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Chris Tilbury is an enthusiastic twenty-something who can’t resist spending money, which means he knows a thing or two about packaging. He recommends Payne Worldwide.



2 thoughts on “Product Packaging: The Psychological Influences Behind Our Purchasing Decisions

  1. My name is psychoterapia kraków, i’m a newbie here. I really like your site and very interested in the topics you discuss here. thank you for the inspiration!

  2. From the product to the supermarket, everything is set up in such a way that influences consumers to buy the product. For example, most food stores put the produce up front so consumers are more inclined to buy fruits and the store is almost set up in a circular way to get the customer to walk through it and pick the items they need. More personal items – such as ethnic foods and things that are not really on sale are in the center of the store. The items the store wants their customers to buy are normally put on the outer aisles, in the front of the store, or in areas they know people are most likely to walk. Many of the items on sale are left on the pallets because there is no reason to waste the man hours putting them on shelves. While food stores do not normally hire marketing psychologists, they use basic psychology, monitoring people’s behaviors and buying habits, and figure out the best course of action including store design for the highest rate of profit possible.

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