Inside Logistics

Consumers prefer paper for e-comm packaging

Paper packaging would entice shoppers to switch retailers, survey finds


January 19, 2021
by

cardboard shipping box

Wrap it in paper: Almost 70 percent of shoppers would switch to a seller that does.

Online shoppers say they’d be more likely to shop from a store that shipped goods using paper packaging over those that use plastic. That just one finding of a recent survey of e-commerce habits and expectations conducted for packaging supplier Ranpak Holdings Corp.

The online survey revealed e-commerce and packaging preference trends during the 2020 holiday season, showing that more than 40 percent of Americans received more packages at home for the holidays this year compared to last year. E-commerce is expected to continue to expand in 2021, with 67 percent saying they will do more online shopping.

Sustainable shipping

Over three quarters – 78 percent – 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, or bubble wrap). Over two thirds, or 68 percent, 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.

As well, 72 percent of respondents 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.

About a third of those surveyed noticed that the shipping/outer packaging was larger than needed given the item size (32 percent). In addition, 30 percent 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.

“Plastic protective packaging accounts for over one-third of the plastic packaging used in e-commerce. Additionally, Covid-19 is exacerbating an already bad situation,” said Omar Asali, chairman and CEO of Ranpak. “We hope these insights are useful for our customers as they continue to evaluate their shipping and packaging strategies throughout 2021.”

The survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Ranpak from January 5 to 7, 2021 among 2,030 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. The online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.