UK – Recent research by DS Smith reveals that 26% of UK online shoppers would stop ordering from a company if their product arrived in too much unnecessary packaging.

The research found that 22% of respondents would also avoid a brand if its packaging was difficult to recycle or not recyclable.

The survey also that shows around 80% of respondents prefer to receive a product in paper or cardboard packaging, while 21% are willing to pay more to go plastic-free.

Sixty-eight percent said they have a better perception of a company’s sustainability commitments if they receive their product in paper or cardboard packaging rather than plastic.

The research also highlighted that a key concern for consumers was packaging recyclability with 69% of respondents citing it as a priority and 25% saying they would consider paying more for easy-to-recycle packaging.

When asked which features were most important, 63% said packaging made out of paper/cardboard material only and 58% said easy to collapse or flatten packaging.

A dislike for excess packaging was also notable, with 45% of online shoppers citing minimal packaging as important to them.

Sentiment towards reuse was also positive –75% of online shoppers said they would be happy to receive a new product in a previously used package, while 69% would reuse old packaging.

Brands risk losing business if their packaging fails to meet online shoppers’ increased sustainability standards

Anne Curtis, E-Commerce Business Unit Lead for UK Packaging at DS Smith, commented: “The pandemic was a moment of truth for many e-commerce brands, as the trend of online shopping grew in parallel with increasingly sophisticated expectations for how shoppers receive their products.

“Now, sustainability is clearly top of their list of priorities. This means high-quality packaging that is either recyclable or reusable, while also reducing any unnecessary waste.

“At a time when consumers are keeping an eye on their spending and competition for customers is fierce, brands risk losing business if their packaging fails to meet online shoppers’ increased sustainability standards.”

Meanwhile, in a December 2022 survey, DS Smith revealed that online shoppers were dissatisfied with packages too big for the products being shipped, too flimsy, covered with too much tape or not being waterproof or recyclable.

The poll was conducted in October in collaboration with Toronto-based research firm Torfac and had 1,000 respondents.

The results show sustainability is a priority for 81% of consumers—so much so that about 40% say they would pay more for sustainable packaging.

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