E-Commerce accounted for $1.9 trillion of the $22 trillion global retail market in 2016 with an estimated $4.5 trillion in 2021. With more and more consumers ordering online, the packaging industry has been undergoing changes to accomodate this trend.
Some of the areas of concern for consumers are:
The package arriving intact, without damage
The size of the package in comparison to the item being shipped
Ease of opening the package, overall user friendliness
The packaging arriving in a timely fashion
These concerns are reflective of some of the changes taking place in the e-commerce packaging industry. First and foremost, packaging has been redesigned to withstand its integrity during transit. Corrugate must be strong enough to be handled up to 20+ times versus 5 times for in-store purchases. A damaged product can be the difference between a consumer ordering again or finding a new supplier. Therefore, companies have been investing more money in protective packaging such as air pillows, bubble, foam, and paper fill as well as Water-Activated-Tape to ensure secure delivery.
A second change is due to the consumer’s focus on sustainability. They dislike waste. Have you ever gotten earbuds in a 15” x 15” x 15” box? Filled with tons of air pillows? Consumers find this wasteful. Therefore, it forces companies to look at custom sized boxes or automating their lines. By automating, these machines give companies the flexibility to create different size boxes to accommodate the various sized products (See our article on this type of automation).
The growth of e-commerce has also impacted the ability of manufacturers to ship goods in a timely fashion. Companies have been further automating the packaging process by adding case erectors, carton sealing machines, and automated paper void machines just to name a few. This type of automation has allowed manufacturers to ship out products without delay.
The final major change has to do with consumer’s demand for easy to use packaging. This has spurred e-commerce packaging designs such as corrugate with tear strips, resealable plastic mailers, and RFID (radio frequency identification). Consumers want to know when their package hits their doorstep and want to be able to open it with ease.
As e-commerce continues to grow, its packaging will continue to evolve. Partnering with a cutting-edge packaging supplier like Murphy Packaging can help your company be cost-effective while still providing a product that arrives damage-free to its end destination.