What Is a Packing Level? (The Complete Guide)

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In the modern world, packaging has become an indispensable part of the success of many professional marketers or/and shipping companies. When packaging items, companies use different materials depending on the product type.

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Last Updated on May 31, 2023 by Packoi Team

Each packaging material used has its unique purpose that purposely serves an advantage of your business in the market, whether to protect products, offer storage and marketing, or something entirely different.

Companies worldwide use packaging as the “silent salesman” to convey special features of the product and create a commanding impression on prospective consumers. There are different packaging levels, and customers use these levels to gauge the perceived value and quality of different items.

What is/is Packing Level(s)?

You have likely seen some compelling product packaging designs around your marketplace. However, unless you are working in the packaging line, you might not know that levels of packaging exist.

Have you thought of the display stand at the grocery store, shrink wrap, the bottled beverage, or any items you purchase from a seller, including the goods ordered online? Well, those are the kind of packaging referred to here, and each serves its unique purpose as the product is shipped from manufacturer to distributor to consumer.

Packing Level

Packing levels define the distinct hierarchy of packing materials used in handling and transporting a product. For instance, the oil bottle, a box with oil bottle(s) inside, and more. They are an essential part of the shipping process.

They refer to how items are organized and packed to ensure they arrive safely and securely. Levels of packaging are used to protect items from damage, theft, and other potential hazards.

In the packaging industry, companies view the different packing levels as crucial in determining how products are packed for secure shipment. Each of these distinct levels of packaging also offers safe storage deemed essential for other products.

Conceivably, you are curious to know the difference between these levels and their roles in protecting your products. This article will explain the different levels of product packaging and their roles in packaging supplies. After all, you will have packaging-level ideas that you can consider in your line of business.

Let us look at the distinct levels of packaging closely so that you can easily tell the difference and importance of each in the protection and shipment of products when considering a packing strategy.

Primary Packaging

can, drink, orange

Commonly referred to as “consumer packaging” or “retail packaging,” this level refers to the materials that closely touch or make direct physical contact with the product. Primary packaging offers two crucial roles. First, it serves to protect products by keeping out moisture or cushioning against impact.

The second role is that give details about the uses and features of the product, i.e., attracting customers with impressive labels. However, your choice of primary packaging depends on the kind of products in your business line.

Example of Primary Packaging

There is a wide range of primary packaging examples that you could have come across in your day-to-day activities. These include:

  • Soda Can – the can is the primary packaging as it holds the soda
  • A corrugated box is the primary packaging for holding a television unit.
  • The pasta box is the primary packaging as it has the pasta itself.
  • Pill bottle
  • Cereal box

Secondary Packaging

toothpaste box, colgate, toothpaste tube

Similarly, secondary packaging plays an essential role in the product. This packaging level is the box you can use to ship your primary packaging. It is mainly used for protection, marketing, and bundling. Also, it is sometimes used as display packaging in stores.

In simpler terms, secondary packaging purposes to make products appealing to consumers and ease stocking and handling by retailers.

Typically, the packaging materials at this level display printed images of the products, business logos, and other valid product details. All that is done to entice and attract customers to products visually. Customers will be more likely to buy your secondary packaging when your secondary packaging is more attractive.

This level has the power to make an immense difference in your sales. Whenever a company considers rebranding, oftentimes, its centerpiece is the secondary packaging. It is what customers see first whenever they visit your store.

Some Examples of Secondary Packaging

Alike, this level also has several examples you can familiarise yourself with:

  • Branded box with soda cans – the branded box is the secondary packaging in this case, as it holds primary packages (the soda cans) for safety and easy movement.12-pack soda cans, coke
  • Corrugated box containing camera boxes for shipment and cushion against damage.
  • Branded box with the toothpaste tube

Tertiary Packaging

Tertiary packaging is the last level. As you can guess, after branding and packing in primary and secondary packaging levels, your safely packed products need shipment to the final destination. Undoubtedly, you may be forgiven for not knowing this level of packaging. Most consumers are not attentive to what keeps the final product safe from damage during shipment.

corrugated boxes, warehouse, shipment

The tertiary level of packaging refers to the shipping box you can use to ship your secondary-level packed products. It is mainly used in warehouses purposely to protect and ship products. At the tertiary level, visual appeal is unnecessary since its primary purpose is protection during the shipment of products, and usually, the end user does not see it.

Perhaps you know that shipping and storage environments sometimes present unfavorable conditions. It is, therefore, crucial to optimize the tertiary level to tightly combine the multiple items to ensure maximum protection during travel and that products reach their final destination unscratched.

Example of Tertiary Packaging

  • Beauty supplies – boxes of boxed beauty products usually arrive in cardboard boxes. A cardboard box acts as a tertiary packing level.
  • A shipment of pharmaceutical products normally requires tertiary packaging for utmost protection.
  • Corrugated pads as a cushioning layer between packed goods are among the mainly used tertiary packaging.corrugated pads, layering, boxex
  • Packing peanuts
  • Wood pallets
  • Shrink wrap

How to Choose the Correct Packing Level for Your Product?

Now that you have a clear understanding of the different levels of packaging and their importance, you can start thinking of integrating a strategy for packaging products in your business. There are important considerations to look at for a successful strategy, including:

  • Budget – The scope of your budget determines the material you can use for your products. You can only acquire what your budget can accommodate.
  • Materials and their sustainability – The kind of material to use depends on the items you are dealing with. Food items and beverages use different materials from cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, or other goods because of their nature and the required safety standard. Choosing materials that promote a sustainable approach to the brand’s environment is also advisable.
  • Size – If your products come in different sizes, you can opt to get customized package designs from Packoi Printing that fit your needs. Products of large sizes will require oversized packages to protect and prevent them from damage entirely.
  • Design and branding – Your packaging level choice depends on the attributes you want your product to convey to the end users. Make your package design appealing with visuals and informative labels to attract buyers and increase sales.
  • Shipment- After deciding on your package design, consider its function. Even if your plan is appealing with attractive visuals but cannot function as required, it is worth nothing. Choose package materials worth protecting your products and can facilitate easy transportation without jeopardizing the safety of your goods.


Packing levels are crucial in shipping and logistics. They are essential in storing, protecting, marketing, and transporting items. There are three levels of packaging businesses can leverage in handling their products; primary, secondary, and tertiary. Each of these levels of packaging plays an equal role in the benefit of the products in question.

The choice of packing level and materials to design packages depends on the products you are dealing with. Secure storage and transportation of goods is the ultimate goal of all packing levels. It is up to you to strategize accordingly to ensure goods reach their intended destination without shipping damage.

Your Product Safety is Your Success

After reading this article, you should be in a position to know what is needed in your business. Every business would like to increase sales, which is achieved through your products. Packing acts as the “silent salesman” through designing and branding attractive packages for your products. The different levels will perform their functions if you strategize well.

A proper packaging strategy protects the goods, presents compelling branding, and offers a memorable unboxing experience. All levels are equally important in the packaging strategy chosen, so ensure you get the suitable materials.

Packoi Printing offers all custom package designing and printing services. You can get the customized designs your packaging strategy deserves.

For more information regarding custom designs and printing, contact or visit Packoi for reliable services.

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Hey there, I’m Shelly!

I really enjoy the packaging and printing industry because my work makes my clients’ products more beautiful and enjoyable. If you have any questions about packaging and printing, feel free to contact me!

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