Is Luxury Packaging the Next Frontier for Finishing?

Printers and trade finishers are always looking for new opportunities and business. One of the most interesting might be the luxury packaging segment. This is a segment that was basically created by Apple with the introduction of the iPhone in 2007. If you have one, you know about Apple’s fastidiousness in look, feel, and neat compartments in the box where all of the accessories are tucked away.

The Smartphone market exploded after 2007 and luxury packaging took off for a whole variety of products, including watches, jewelry, gift boxes, other electronics, and much more. The box types included folded cartons, rigid cardboard boxes with magnetic closures, book-style boxes with sharply defined edges, rigid cardboard boxes with a paper covering, presentation boxes with flap covers and embossing and more.

The main beneficiary of this huge jump in demand was China, where a large and willing labor force was capable of hand-assembling the high volumes of these boxes that were needed. But while China (and other countries) could fill those high-volume orders, there were significant problems associated with production in low-labor cost countries.

The first was lead time. You could place an order, but your order would certainly not show up in two weeks. Between manufacturing lead time and shipping from a rather distant source, it would be many months before your customer received the goods. The second was order quantity. This is the same issue that faced book printers before the digital revolution. An order of 500 boxes was simply not possible with this supply chain. The third was quality. Hand manufacturing left some product quality expectations wanting. Corners may not have been tucked properly, and there might be other defects.

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