Sustainable Packaging to Rise With E-Commerce

A new report reveals 67% of Americans will shop online more this year than in 2020 while 68% are looking for plastic-free packaging choices.

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During the 2020 holiday season, two in five consumers in the United States received a greater number of delivered package compared to 2019, according to Ranpak’s First Annual E-Commerce and Packaging Trends Survey. This statistic is likely to grow even more but consumers' interests in sustainable packaging will need to be considered by packaging and logistics companies. Sixty-eight percent of shoppers will likely gravitate towards brands that offer plastic-free packaging choices at checkout rather than those that don't. 

Per Businesswire:

The online survey revealed e-commerce and packaging preference trends during the 2020 holiday season, showing that over two in five Americans received more packages delivered to their home for the holidays this year compared to last year. What’s more, consumers will continue to online shop in 2021, even more than in 2020. Consumers also demonstrated a strong preference for paper packaging over plastic and would be more likely to purchase from online retailers and brands who offer plastic-free packaging choices at checkout than online retailers who don’t. 

  • As expected, e-commerce thrived in the 2020 holiday season: Nearly all Americans, 91%, had packages delivered to their home this holiday season. Over two in five Americans (44%) received more packages delivered to their home for the holidays in 2020 compared to 2019.
  • Americans prefer paper over plastic packaging - and are more likely to purchase from companies who do, too: Over three quarters of Americans (78%) wish more brands used paper packaging (e.g. cardboard boxes, paper mailers, paper fill inside the package) instead of plastic packaging (e.g. plastic envelope, plastic pillows inside the box, bubble wrap). What’s more, over two thirds of Americans, or 68%, would be more likely to purchase from online retailers and brands that offer plastic-free packaging choices at checkout than online retailers who do not. 
  • E-Commerce doesn’t seem to be dying down in 2021: 67% of Americans plan to do more online shopping (e.g. household items, groceries, gifts) in 2021 than in 2020.
  • Sustainable shipping and packaging can increase the bottom line for retailers beyond the holiday season: 72% of Americans would be more likely to purchase again from brands that shipped sustainably (i.e. used less plastic, used the right sized box for the item being shipped) this past holiday season than brands that did not.
  • Thought your delivery boxes were unnecessarily large and wasteful? You weren’t alone: About a third of Americans noticed that the shipping/outer packaging was larger than needed given the item size (32%) for the packages they had delivered to their home for the holidays this year. In addition, 30% said that bubble wrap and/or other forms of plastic were used for protection inside the box more often than they had seen in the past for the packages they had delivered to their home for the holidays this year. 
  • Online grocery delivery and meal delivery services could see a boom this year: Nearly half of Americans, 46%, plan to order more food online (e.g. groceries, meal kits) to be delivered to their home in 2021 compared to 2020. 


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