Consumers could refuse to buy from retailers who don’t use sustainable packaging, says new survey

Mark McIntyre Macfarlane Packaging

Almost one in five consumers (19%) have said they would not buy from online retailers who do not use sustainable packaging, according to a survey published today (01 November, 2021).

Macfarlane Packaging’s sixth annual unboxing survey of UK consumers asks respondents to share their experiences of opening online deliveries. The survey was completed by 600 people over the summer and covered online purchases from the fashion, food & drink, home & garden, and health & beauty sectors, with products ranging from cosmetics to large home appliances.

With national lockdown restrictions in place throughout the first part of 2021, consumers increasingly turned to the internet to meet their shopping needs while they remained at home. The survey showed that 88% of respondents said they spent more time shopping online during the pandemic and, of those, 64% said this behaviour would not change in the future, with 30% of consumers saying that they are likely to increase their online shopping.

Confirming the rise of the eco-conscious shopper, 97% of respondents said they follow recycling instructions where possible. However, 14% advised they were unsure about the recyclability of the packaging they received due to no instructions regarding disposal. This highlights the need for clear directions for end-users to understand how to dispose of their packaging responsibly.

Other highlights of the survey include:

·         Delivery: 96% of respondents said they favoured home delivery over click and collect, with 55% selecting home delivery for convenience, and 40% taking advantage of free delivery.

·         Sustainability: 73% of respondents thought that the packaging they received was recyclable.

·         Packaging branding: There was an increase in deliveries with unbranded packaging, growing from 32% in 2020 to 45% in 2021, suggesting that an increasing number of online retailers are missing the opportunity to connect with customers through an immersive unboxing experience that represents their brand.

·         Damages: There was a slight increase in the percentage of damaged deliveries, increasing from 5% in 2020 to 9% in 2021.

Commenting on the survey results, Laurel Granville, Marketing Director of Macfarlane Packaging, said: “The past 18 months have changed the way we shop. Responses to this year’s survey are a clear indication that online shopping is fast becoming the norm and consumers are demanding more sustainable packaging.”

“Our team at Macfarlane Packaging are working hard with our customers to help them achieve sustainably sound solutions to their packaging needs and we hope that this year’s feedback is of benefit to retailers who can see what consumers are demanding.”

The survey was carried out across the summer of 2021, with respondents sharing images of their unboxing experience as well as completing the survey. The results are designed to provide retailers with valuable feedback from consumers.

Full details of the survey responses can be found at https://www.macfarlanepackaging.com/unboxing-survey-2021-2/

The experience of opening a package containing a product ordered online has become known as “unboxing”.  Video and consumer reviews of not only products but the packaging that they arrive in are an important consideration for retailers.

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