Saturday, 23 September 2023

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Packaging of Cameras

In today's society, the majority of camera purchasing is done online as opposed to in-store. Some consumers typically read Google reviews or watch YouTube reviews and price match retailers such as Best Buy, Target, or local camera stores when looking to buy a camera. As a result, very few cameras are purchased in-store. While it has been described as the “silent salesman,” packaging is vital to the safety of the camera as well (“3 Levels”). A camera has to be packaged properly to safely make it from the distributor to the retailer and into the hands of the consumers. Packaging for cameras must also clearly display the product that one will find within the box. This article will take a deep dive into the primary, secondary, and tertiary types of packaging for cameras.

Primary Packaging of Cameras

The primary packaging for cameras is the box which would normally be seen on the shelf of a retail store. This box serves multiple purposes. First and foremost, it protects the camera from damage while being shipped from the manufacturer. Second, it is the primary selling point for cameras often showing a picture of the camera inside. Additionally, it serves as the means of transportation after purchase if a customer does not have a camera case. Unlike other electronics, the primary packaging for cameras allows for the camera to be transported in the original package for the life of the camera. Consider the packaging for a cell phone. Once the cell phone is open, the package is an unlikely method of transportation because it is impractical. However, the primary packaging for a camera often has compartments where a charger can fit along with an instruction packet to be used after first assembly.

It is stated that the first moment of truth when consumers are in front of a product inside a store is where 70% of the buying decisions are made. “The external packaging must be sufficient to protect the entire packaging as well as the finished item. It must also have enough information so that it identifies the contents, in text and often with bar codes for use with RF technology” (Murray). When retailers create a package for a product, they must anticipate what the consumer will think about the product. Bigger and more colorful packaging will grab consumers attention faster, but the manufacturer of the product must also consider that shelf space costs dollars. If a product is too big and is not selling, then retailers will not want to keep that product on the shelf. Brand names often get priority when placed in retail stores. To put it simply, top sellers are placed on endcaps versus regular shelves.

The first thing an observer notices on a package is coloring. An observer then notices the shape and finally the graphics. Colors are often associated with moods, feelings, places, and things. There are warm colors such as red, orange, yellow, and brown and then there are cool colors such as green and blue. Since colors are associated with feelings, the following diagram describes what a customer should feel when looking at a package.

All camera packaging is essentially branding. So why pick a product over its competitors? Aranda gives some advice on how to design a retail product’s packaging. Aranda states four major points: “don’t make them look for it, pick sturdy materials, keep it fresh, and make it easy to open” (Aranda). The Sony a7iii was the third best-selling camera in 2019, per Its packaging is made of paperboard that is around 0.024”, or 24-point paperboard. The box is black with a picture of the camera on two sides, a description of the camera, UPC codes, and multiple serial/identification numbers. The packaging is a top auto lock bottom box with custom inside compartments to fit the camera, the camera strap, a battery, the charger, a USB cord, and instruction manual. It is roughly 8”x5”x5”. One side of the box is colored orange and grabs the consumers attention more than the black coloring on all the other sides. The box is not only functional but aesthetically pleasing for shelf appeal.

There are seven major colors on the emotion guide. These colors represent optimism, friendship, excitement, creativity, trust, peace, and balance. As previously stated in this article, the Sony camera box is black on five sides with one side being orange representing friendship, cheerfulness, and confidence. One may think that photographers would be more enticed by a purple box. After all, purple represents creativity, imagination, and wisdom. However, most photographers are drawn to things of balance because symmetry and rules of thumb often truck the creative side.

Marketing is a huge aspect, so a manufacturer must think about the demographics, the psychographics, and the ethnography for their product. “Demographics is the numerical count based on gender, age, occupation, residence, cultural/ethnic background, education level, marital status, family size, socioeconomic status, geographic factors, religious belief, etc. Much info is derived from national census.” The following figure shows how case studies have been done to understand the demographics of camera consumers. It is shown that 48.05% of 18 to 29 year olds owned a digital camera, 61.8% of 30 to 49 year olds owned a digital camera, and 56.77% of 50 to 64 year olds owned a digital camera in 2018.

Psychographic is the study of how groups of people are motivated and behave. It is not precise. Ethnography is the study of buying habits. For cameras, psychography and ethnography work together. They pose the question: why do consumers purchase cameras? A camera is considered an electronic, which means consumers focus on not only the appearance of the camera on the shelf, but also its performance. Most cameras will have the specs for the camera on the packaging, as well as displayed in a case within a retail store. Like most electronic products, there are high-end and low-end cameras which vary in price. Most consumers will either know exactly what specification they are looking for or have a range of required performance specifications and price. Then the consumer will implement the “best bang for my buck” philosophy. Knowing the ethnography for the consumer of the specific camera being produced will determine the proper marketing on the package of the camera.

Once the primary packaging game plan has been established the manufacturer must now focus on in-store product placement. When placing a product on a shelf, a manufacturer must negotiate with the retailer to ensure they get the best shelf placement that will drive sales. If a camera is not stored in the box on a shelf, it is sometimes taken out the box and stored in a clear glass case with multiple products inside being displayed. This housing allows for customers to ask the sales representative to see the camera, experience what the camera feels like, and for a demonstration on how the camera operates. Although manufacturers of cameras design the primary packaging for cameras, it is often the marketing department teamed up with retailers who establish a game plan for the retail placement of the product.

Secondary Packaging of Cameras

Similar to most high-end electronics, cameras will not have secondary packing. This is because each camera will be placed in its own box for sale. Secondary packaging is mainly for items such as ketchup, lotion, toothpaste, etc. These types of items are normally shipped with certain amounts of units per type. Tertiary packing is the main focus after primary packing for cameras.

Tertiary Packaging of Cameras

The tertiary packaging of cameras is “generally the shipping box used to protect the secondary packaging. Warehouses use tertiary packages to protect and transport goods” (“3 Levels”). This can include the box that contains multiple cameras or a singular camera, this also includes shrink wrap to keep multiple boxes together safely on a pallet and may also include plastic bubble wrap or packaging pellets. Efficient tertiary packaging will protect the camera as well as minimize damage while also reducing the risk of dealing with expensive labor and inventory. It also helps manage space in the warehouse creating efficient transportation for the camera between warehouse and retail. This creates less cost for shipping and handling which leads to a lower retail price ultimately benefiting the consumer.

When shipping it is often said that good things come in small packages. The smaller the package the lighter the final product is resulting in lower shipping costs. Picking a good box is essential when deciding how to ship your product. Dimensional weight can make a package quite pricey. Although weight is the main focus in controlling shipping cost, weight sometimes may not be sacrificed because the valuables on the inside of the package must also be protected.

Oftentimes bubble wrap, foam cushioning, paper padding, and packing peanuts are used to protect the package. Furthermore, sealing a package is just as important when considering ways to protect your package. The H taping method is used to ensure packages do not come open while in transit. When dealing with secondary packaging, the graphics on the outside of the box are often not as important as the labeling used to ensure a package is correctly and efficiently distributed between warehouse and retail locations. Beyond the shipping, box pallets are used to store and ship multiple shipping boxes. There are three different types of pallets: metal pallets, plastic pallets, and corrugated pallets. Metal pallets and plastic pallets have a long lifespan. However, corrugated pallets are lighter than both, so they are often used for air freight shipments (“Ultimate”).

For businesses, the packaging of an item should be sufficient to limit any damage to the item as it is moved within the warehouse as well. To maximize the storage capacity of a warehouse, a manufacturer should ensure that their package can be stacked neatly and compactly onto a pallet. Ensuring that an efficient number of units can be stacked on a pallet reduces materials handling cost. This again benefits the customers as it results in a lower pricing (Murray). Although not a concern with camera packaging, space and weight remain the main logistical concerns. A shipment must be light as well as fit onto pallets to be efficient for moving between warehouse to warehouse, as well as to its final retail destination.

It is suggested that paperboard and plastic are used to package most materials, while also looking at the recycling aspect of both materials. This will reduce waste in local landfills and improve the overall environmental health of the world. Corrugated cardboard is a very popular product used for efficient exterior packaging mainly due to its strength, lightweight, and recyclability…It is almost 100 percent recyclable (Murray).

Sustainable Camera Packaging

While conducting research on camera packaging it was discovered that Derrick Lin has created a sustainable packaging for cameras. Lin states, “almost every product sold today comes in packaging. Once we consume the product the packaging becomes worthless, usually thrown in the garbage” (Lin). Lin believes we should save the packaging after it is being used by creating a “press out” cardboard box that is also the user manual.

The Sony a7ii has multiple recycling symbols on the primary packaging. It has the green dot, which “signifies the packaging producer has made contribution towards packaging recycling, but this doesn’t necessarily mean the packaging itself is recyclable” (Dagger). It also has the corrugated recyclable symbol, which “indicates that corrugated (cardboard) packaging can be recycled” (Dagger).

Moments of Truth

There are many marketing aspects of packaging as well as the protection of shipping aspects of packaging. However, it would be irresponsible not to discuss the zero moment of truth. This is the influence that social media, commercials, and blogs (YouTube videos for camera specifically) have on the purchasing decision of a camera. YouTube has become a huge outlet for consumers to get reviews and device expertise tutorials on the products they have and are contemplating purchasing. A huge part of YouTube in today's society is called the unboxing process. This is where a consumer first interacts with the product of package at home and is also called the second moment of truth. Both of these moments of truth are just as important as the first moment of truth when dealing with cameras and high-end electronics. Let us take the iPhone for example. Many consumers do not know what the iPhones box looks like until they purchase it and an Apple associate brings it from the rear inventory storage room. Apple uses only hands-on displays for their products. This is not to say that Apple does not focus on the aesthetics and materials used for packaging their products. Cameras are often times similar to this, being that the actual packaging box does not often sell a consumer on purchasing a camera.


Packaging is a valuable part of getting a camera from the manufacturer to the consumers hands. The packaging not only keeps the product safe in transit, it is also valuable in providing information about all the components within the box, and the specifications for the cameras. Although cameras may not always be displayed with the box on a shelf, the primary factor for primary packaging of camera must be aesthetically pleasing to the consumer. The first moment of truth, second moment of truth, and zero moment of truth are all equally valuable with camera packaging. Studies show that 70% of the purchasing decision is made at the first moment of truth, but with the sale of cameras this is not the case. Research is done online normally before even purchasing cameras, so it could be saved. Therefore, the zero moment of truth is actually the priority in camera purchasing. The size of a camera box is directly correlated with the size of the camera inside. The manufacturer worries about the specifications of their camera which often includes the weight for the user. By keeping the weight of the camera down it also keeps the shipping weight low. This reduces costs and creates ways to ship more cameras within a secondary packaging to be sent from manufacturer to retailer. Camera packaging and marketing is continuously changing as technology evolves in today's society.


Aranda, Cris Lauer. “Packaging Basics: What Consumers Expect.” Create It Packaging, 8 Dec. 2015,

Chiakpo, Colin. “The Secret to Supermarket Product Placement in 2020.” Repsly, Daggar, Jay. “Recycling Symbols on Packaging [2019]: Explanation & 32 Free Vector Downloads.” GWP Group, 28 Sept. 2020,

Lin, Derrick. “Sustainable Camera Packaging (Student Project).” Packaging of the World - Creative Package Design Gallery, Murray, Martin. “Here Is a Look at Efficient Packaging in the Warehouse.” The Balance Small Business, 2019,

Statista Research Department. “Digital Camera Owners in the U.S. 2018, by Age.” Statista, 3 Sept. 2019,

“The 3 Levels of Product Packaging: Functions and Importance.” Netpak, 12 Aug. 2019,

“The Ultimate Guide to Packaging Your Shipments.” Pertnership,

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