Posted on by Elspeth Devine

 A beautifully wrapped gift with a gold colour scheme that emphasises the connection between giver and the psychology behind gift wrapping

Packaging has become a mainstay when it comes to people giving gifts. With the growth of virtual gift giving since the pandemic (in which a product is bought directly from an ecommerce channel and sent to the recipient, and not given in person) and the popularity of unboxing among consumers on YouTube and Instagram, it is essential for brands to choose a packaging strategy that aligns with the needs of their target market.

In this article, we will look into the science and psychology behind gift wrapping, and what your packaging strategy says about your business.

The power of perception

Research has shown that the way a gift is wrapped can alter the recipient’s perception of the gift itself! In a landmark study conducted by Daniel Howard of Southern Methodist University in Dallas (USA) and published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology in 1992, participants were given gifts wrapped in either high-quality, luxurious wrapping paper or low cost, plain brown paper. The results suggested that participants rated the gifts wrapped in higher quality paper as more desirable and thoughtful than the more cheaply wrapped gifts. For brands, this demonstrates that investing in high quality packaging materials for gift products conveys a message of luxury, thoughtfulness, and attention to detail that resonates well with consumers.

The role of colour

In various cultures, different colours evoke different emotions and associations. In the UK, for example, red is commonly associated with passion, love, and affection, making it the colour of choice for Valentines Day, chocolate boxes and other gifts designed for romantic occasions. Daniel Howard’s 1992 study also revealed that gifts wrapped in red packaging were perceived as more exciting and desirable than those wrapped in green! By choosing the ‘right colours for your gift packaging, you can help convey the appropriate emotions and feelings that you want associated with your brand and its products – but do remember that all colour associations are strongly culturally determined. Thorough market research into your target audience should be conducted before basing any marketing decisions on colour psychology.

The influence of texture

The physical texture of the packaging materials affects the unboxing experience. For some people, smooth and glossy textures evoke sensual feelings of luxury and sophistication, whereas rough textures may be associated with ruggedness, sustainability, and natural products. This can tie into your brand aesthetic for particular types of products, allowing you to shape your gift wrapping and packaging strategy to enhance the overall experience and perception of your customers.

Personalisation and Customisation

Personalisation is another critical factor that impacts the perceived value of a gift product, and this is an especially important consideration for ecommerce retailers. Allowing your customers to customise their gift packaging to feature the receiver’s name or a personalised message can help foster a sense of exclusivity and emotional connection – making your brand more memorable and encouraging customer loyalty.

Sustainability and environmental friendliness

Sustainability is becoming a growing component in gift packaging psychology, with consumers now more likely to purchase from brands that offer sustainable and eco-friendly packaging solutions. By investing in sustainable packaging materials, designs, and inks, your brand can convey an image of responsibility and social awareness, as well as increase its appeal to an expanding market of eco-conscious consumers.

Find out more

Brand packaging now involves more than simply bubble wrapping a product and putting it in a box; your choice of colour, material, and branding can intimately affect the receiver’s perception of your products and your business. To find out more about how to extend your market and win more sales through sustainable gift packaging, please get in touch with one of our knowledgeable team today.


plastic free guide large CTA