Main outcomes from eye-tracking research in creating irresistible pack designs

Apr 5, 2022

For consumer goods, packaging is a highly important marketing media. From scientific research we know that a pack design generating a high likelihood of purchase:

  • stands out from the crowd in retail; it captures the consumer's attention first
  • is visually appealing; consumers simply like its appearance
  • communicates a relevant value proposition effectively; key messages capture consumer attention fast
  • visuality, touch/structure and copy (text) appeal to all possible senses on a both rational and emotional level
  • makes consumers finally put the product into their shopping basket.

When focusing on the layout of the pack design, research findings from academia show that eye gaze goes naturally to the centre of the pack design; i.e. consumers naturally look first at the centre of the package. This finding indicates that key elements (key visual, brand name, key benefit) should be placed at the centre. If the key elements are placed somewhere else, e.g. bottom left-hand or bottom right-hand, they do need to stand out to be noticed.

Using these guidelines consumer brands can increase their probability to create irresistible pack designs. At the same time - the devil is in the details. Each product (pack design) has its own unique context where it competes for consumer attention and love. This means that pack design development is about learning what drives consumer choices, then designing alternative designs, A/B testing, learning, and improving.

Cambri wants to make advanced consumer research, including pack design testing, easily accessible for all design teams. In this research project, we tested and compared two methods: stated eye-tracking and webcam eye (gaze) tracking. The former is Cambri’s software solution, and the latter is a commercially available software solution with years of proven track record in this field. Our key aim was to evaluate how similar or different insights these methods produce when the ultimate aim is to help consumer brands to develop irresistible pack designs.

We carried out our research in a yoghurt category in Finland. The research included two surveys: one survey (n=304) with the Cambri tool, and the other one (n=297) with the eye-tracking software. The target audience consisted of consumers who use a particular yoghurt segment at least once a month. We investigated 3 competing yoghurts (i.e., pack designs).

We wanted to understand:

1) How effectively different pack designs (products) capture attention in the retail,

2) How well the key messages are found in the package,

3) How visually appealing the designs were,

4) How well they could generate purchase intent.


The evaluation of methods focuses on the first two topics.

How well a pack design captures attention - 2

  • Stated eye tracking. Respondents are asked to identify appealing products in retail as well as to choose the appealing elements of the package by clicking them with a smiley. The research flow is as in any survey and questions are easy for respondents to answer. All the quality-screened-in responses (n=304) were usable.
  • Webcam eye (gaze) tracking where consumers’ eye gaze is being tracked while looking at a retail shelf and a pack design. This method records respondents’ eye movements through their webcam and via an algorithm, gaze data (x/y-coordinates with a timestamp) is calculated, revealing where they looked at any given point in time. The method requires respondents to grant access to their webcam as well as going through an initial short calibration process. Out of the 297 respondents that started the test, 89 (30%) completed the survey and followed instructions well enough to produce usable data.

Our findings were clear: these two methods generated very similar results. The correlation of the metrics between the key performance indicators varied between 0.7 to 0.9.

Here is the comparison of methods in more detail:

  • Question 1: How well did three (3) examined products (pack designs) and their competitors captured attention in retail?
    The results from the stated eye-tracking and eye (gaze) tracking were nearly identical, the correlation being 0.9.
  • Question 2: How well different elements of the pack design captured the attention and generated liking?
    The results from the stated eye-tracking and eye (gaze) tracking were very similar; the correlation being 0.7.
  • The biggest difference between the methods was:
    1) A well-known brand earns more attention (eye-tracking) than it is clicked with a smiley (stated eye tracking).
    2) The key benefit (claim) is clicked with a smiley (stated eye-tracking) more than earning attention.

Based on this study we can conclude that stated eye-tracking and webcam eye (gaze) tracking methods provide very similar insights for creating irresistible packages. Cambri offers access to them both: an automated pack design test is available in the Cambri tool while we offer webcam eye (gaze) tracking research on a needs basis.

Curious? Get in touch to learn more about the Cambri tool and pack design testing opportunities


Dr. Heli Holttinen, Cambri Founder and CEO
Dr. Apramey Dube, Cambri Senior Research Manager
Dr. Timo Erkkilä, Cambri CTO
Magnus Linde, Senior Market Researcher, Implicit Academy, former head of analytics at (acquired by Tobii)


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Schifferstein H., Fenko A., Desmet P., Labbe D., and Martin N. (2013), “Influence of package design on the dynamics of multisensory and emotional food experience”, Food Quality & Preference, 27, pp. 18-25
Rettle R. and Brewer C. (2000), “The verbal and visual components of package design”, Journal of Product & Brand Management, 9 (1), pp. 56-70