Consumers are keen for products such as clothing to come with labelling and packaging that uses technology such as QR codes to give them more information.

According to a new report from connected technology agency SharpEnd, 71% of UK consumers are interested in finding out more about the products they buy and 65% would take time to engage with products via their smartphones.

Products using technology such as QR, NFC (near-field communication) and augmented reality (AR) are perceived to have a higher value, according to 53% of consumers.

Top of the list is sustainability, with 75% of UK consumers wanting to use their mobile devices to connect with products to find out information such as how to dispose of or recycle a product.

As a connected product can be location-based, the labels or packaging could advise where the nearest clothing recycling centre is.

The study also found that 57% of respondents wanted to use labels and packaging to learn about the sustainability credentials of a product, with 53% specifically saying they wanted to use the technology to find out a product’s provenance.

Clothing manufacturers already picking up on this trend include Mantis World which last year introduced QR codes on the inside care labels of its garments, providing customers with information about each product’s environmental impact.

The new report is the first edition of an annual benchmark planned by SharpEnd that counts Levi’s, Yeo Valley, PepsiCo, Estée Lauder Companies, Campari Group and others among its clients. The research also features input from companies including eBay.

Charis Marquez, vice president for fashion at eBay, said: “Connected products not only build relationships with brands, they allow us to share and connect with other people through data. This connection allows people to feel like they are part of a community with similar interests, dreams and goals.”

Out of NFC, AR and QR codes, the research revealed that the expected use of connected packaging over the next 12 months would be highest for QR codes with 96% recognition from all smartphone users.

Consumers said that the categories where they most expected to see AR, which brings an external virtual world to life, were luxury clothing, non-luxury clothing and footwear.

Cameron Worth, founder of SharpEnd, said: “There’s been a lot of technology-led research over the years that doesn’t really inspire brands or marketers. It’s why we’ve explored the why and what before the how and our findings support unequivocally that an experience-led approach needs to be taken to succeed with connected packaging.”

Sir John Hegarty, legendary advertising executive and co-founder of advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty, added: “Throughout my creative career I’ve always followed one simple rule. Make the product the hero. There are many ways to start a brand journey; connected packaging I would argue should be one of them. And as we live in a connected world, wouldn’t it be the most obvious?”

Read the full report at