Millennials prefer shopping online more than other age groups, and a new survey finds that what they like about product packaging differs too.

In six years of surveys, functionality has ranked as most valued when tallying answers from the general population for the Packaging Matters report by WestRock paper packaging company.

“Packaging needs to do its job,” says the 2018 report, based on a survey of about 2,000 U.S. adults by an independent research firm. A product’s wrapper, box, bottle or other container should stop it from leaking, keep the item safe and be easy to use.

However, millennials, more than other generations, favor packaging that stands out and makes their lives simpler, with designs that can be found easily when shopping and store well at home.

Nickie Parker, WestRock VP of commercial excellence, points out that many millennials live in smaller spaces and enjoy new looks and shapes for packages, which some feature in #shelfie photos online showing their storage spaces. “They’re looking for the package to tell them something.”

Younger adults also go against generational trends when asked about trust in packaging, a key to brand loyalty. Millennials have significantly less trust in packaging in most categories.

Overall, people say packaging is a significant driver of trust because it prevents tampering, keeps their families safe and communicates honestly, including identifying potential dangers. For building trust, they rank those features above characteristics related to a company “doing good,” such as using ethical manufacturing and offering recyclability.

But millennials say more often that brands can build trust by “doing good,” especially with products made ethically and responsibly.

“As the rising generation of new parents, new business leaders and new decision-makers, their perspective as consumers is an important consideration for brand marketers,” the report says.

What millennials say they value in packaging:

80 percent: easy to store at home

76 percent: makes products easy to find on the shelf

55 percent: new or unique shape or appearance

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