Consumer Study by Clemson University Shows Preference for Clear Plastic Clamshells

A study was conducted recently to determine whether packaging styles influence the shopping behaviors of consumers. Klöckner Pentaplast worked with Clemson University to compare consumer reactions to clear plastic clamshells with those to printed paperboard boxes. Eye-tracking research was conducted at Clemson University’s CUShop in a recreated shopping environment.


According to Klöckner Pentaplast, study results showed a “strong purchase preference” for clear plastic clamshells over the printed paperboard cartons, the company reported in a press release issued during Pack Expo International in Chicago this week.

The study included 68 participants from ages 18 to over 65 with varying incomes. Slightly more than 76% of these consumers claimed to be the primary shoppers for their households. Participants wore eye-tracking glasses and were given one of five random shopping lists. They were asked to find a men’s razor, an electric toothbrush, and an air freshener, and there was only one model of each of these products available. These items were each packaged two different ways: in a clear plastic clamshell and in a paperboard box.

To use during their shopping experience, participants were each given Tobii eye-tracking glasses, which resemble reading glasses but are attached to a recording assistant with for recording eye movements 30 times per second.

According to Klöckner Pentaplast, results included the following statistics:

• Clear plastic clamshell packages were fixated on for 343% longer than paperboard packages.
• Clear plastic clamshell packages received 675% more fixations than paperboard packages.
• Clear plastic clamshell packages were found 40% faster than paperboard packages.
• Clear plastic clamshell packages were purchased 402% more than paperboard packages.

The experiment was conducted over two days, and after the first day the order of the packaged items was changed to minimize any potential bias from positioning.

Klöckner Pentaplast offers a range of films, including those that can be used for thermoforming clamshell packaging.

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