Scanning the Shelves: When a fraction of a second means everything.

Want to know just how quickly customers make decisions about products on the retail shelf? Turn to eye-tracking studies. In these studies, participants wear special head gear that tracks their eye movements.

Eye tracking measures three things:

  1. The amount of time, in seconds, spent on average by participants fixating on each item.
  2. The time, in seconds, from when a product first enters a participant’s field of view until the participant fixates on it.
  3. The total number of times a product crosses into a participant’s line of vision.

Let’s look at the data from some well-known product categories to see what we can learn.

In a study of 30 products, in all but three cases, research participants spent less than two seconds looking at each package. “Time to first fixation,” or the amount of time before participants looked at a product on the shelf, ranged from just over 20 seconds to well over 40 seconds. For the brands with the longest time to fixation, that’s a lot of time for shoppers to be focused on someone else’s product before they get to yours.

In this category, the brands were more well-known, so survey participants spent even less time “fixating” on them. The time spent looking at the product ranged from 1/10th of a second to 4/10th of a second. The brand that was second to last in terms of time viewed was Coca-Cola, yet it was the second most likely to be purchased. This tells us how important branding is.

In this category, the span of “time to fixation” was between 8 and 17 seconds. The product with the longest time holding the customer’s eye? Less than two seconds. The product with the least time? Just over half a second.

What is the takeaway? Package design matters – a lot.

  • Know what is important to your customers (e.g., ingredients, organic, brand story).
  • Put those things front and center so your customers see them right away.
  • Analyze your competitors’ packaging and create something that looks different and stands out on the retail shelf.

Plan your packaging as carefully as you do any other element of your marketing campaigns. Know your audience, and design specifically for that audience. Know your competitors, too. Design to be different so your customers fixate on you first!

Source: Studies from Quad Graphics Packaging Insight

Share on Social:

You may also like

Graphic Village Recognized for Print Excellence

Graphic Village is proud to announce it was recently awarded seven 2020 Print Excellence Awards from Graphic Media Alliance.
Learn More →

Graphic Village Acquires Local Branding Consultancy

Graphic Village has acquired Intrinzic, one of the region’s ...
Learn More →

Graphic Village Acquires Dayton-Based DMS ink

Acquisition adds sophisticated, personalized communications capabilities. Graphic Village announced ...
Learn More →
Scroll to Top
Direct Marketing
Data Management
Kitting & Fulfillment
Automated Portals
Brand Development
Digital Branding
Brand Campaigns
Branded Merchandise
About Us
Our Team
Our Approach
Social Responsibility