Online shopping changes the outlook for the packaging industry


43% of consumers feel guilty about ordering items online which arrive with too much packaging or what they feel is unsustainable packaging.

Posted on Sep 28 ,07:43

Online shopping changes the outlook for the packaging industry

Online shopping has become an important trend among European consumers and new habits in selecting not only the items desired but also the packaging raise concerns for the food industry and for the packaging sector as well.
85% of people want to buy products which use as little packaging as possible, because of the impact unsustainable packaging has on our planet. Shopping online and being mindful of sustainability were around before the pandemic, but these trends have been accelerated over the past year and a half, with new behaviours relating to eCommerce are continually evolving. 64% of Europeans shopped more online during the Covid-19 pandemic, and 89% say they intend to shop as much or more online after restrictions have ended.
Sustainability is likely to continue to influence consumer buying decisions, but cost may limit choice substantially. Ideally, such barriers should be removed to enable all consumers to make sustainable packaging choices. In a recent survey, 61% of consumers expressed that they had felt overwhelmed by the amount of packaging items they received when shopping online. 43% of adults in Europe think that keeping packaging to a minimum is important, whereas 41% think that the sector should prioritise recyclable packaging.
"43% of consumers feel guilty about ordering items online which arrive with too much packaging or what they feel is unsustainable packaging. 'Packaging guilt’ has meant that 64% of shoppers are prepared to change where they shop in favour of using less packaging.

In the long-term, this means that brands and retailers who do not act sustainably risk losing both their reputation and their customers. Brands and retailers may also be affected by high-profile anti-packaging campaigns which directly impact their reputation with negative PR. But brands do have a choice – either they resist, which is likely to cost them customers and revenue, or they embrace sustainability as a competitive advantage in a rapidly-evolving market," said Summer Bramall in a post for Sealpac UK and partners.
New trends that emerged in the European packaging market are as follow:

- Sustainability and recyclability of packaging continues to be important to consumers, especially for eCommerce purchases, where consumers have little choice in packaging options
- Consumers are passionate about reduced packaging and are prepared to change their shopping habits to support reduced packaging alternatives, so brands should be looking to produce packaging that is easy to break down and dispose of/recycle
- Recycling and sustainability information is best advertised on product packaging for consumer convenience
- Brand packaging needs to stand out to be effective in retail environments as consumers are spending less time instore.

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