Macfarlane Packaging’s seventh annual Unboxing Survey

Consumer survey reveals retailers are making significant packaging improvements

Laura MenendezMacfarlane Packaging

New research published today (11 October 2022) highlights that online retailers have made significant improvements to their packaging, including reducing overpacking and damages, while improving sustainability and branding.

Macfarlane Packaging’s seventh annual Unboxing Survey of UK consumers asked participants to share their experiences of opening their online shopping deliveries. The survey was completed by over 1,000 consumers during the summer. The participants reviewed deliveries from a range of sectors, including fashion, food & drink, home & garden and health & beauty.

Results highlighted that retailers have reduced excessive packaging by 25% compared to when the research by Macfarlane Packaging began in 2016.   In addition, consumers reported that they consider 78% of packs to be sustainable and 81% easy to recycle. This means that almost 20% more online retail packaging can be recycled now compared to 2020.

Branded packaging has also been put in the spotlight, with nearly 60% of consumers stating their parcels arrived branded, almost doubling in the last three years. 40% of consumers confirmed that branded packaging encourages them to buy again from retailers.

Highlights of the survey were:

  • Delivery – 96% of consumers prefer home delivery over click & collect or delivery lockers
  • Sustainability – 78% of respondents believe the packaging that retailers are using is eco-friendly and 81% report it is easy to recycle.
  • Branding – branding on packaging has been increasing over the last three years, from 32% in 2020 to 45% in 2021 and now 59% in 2022.
  • Damages – parcels that arrived damaged have dropped year on year to 7%, as the unprecedented demand created by lockdown conditions recedes.

Commenting on the survey results, Laurel Granville, Marketing Director of Macfarlane Packaging, said: “Responses to our unboxing survey this year demonstrate how retailers have been responding to consumer preferences and optimising their packaging so it’s more eco-friendly and less wasteful.

“At Macfarlane Packaging, we’re working to support retailers to further these improvements with tools like our Packaging Optimiser, which can help businesses review the effectiveness of their packaging and assess its impact on costs and the environment. We hope retailers find the insights from this year’s survey useful for their businesses.” 

The survey was carried out over the summer of 2022, with many respondents sharing images of their unboxing experiences when completing the survey. Results are designed to provide retailers with valuable information about consumer opinion so they can make informed decisions about packaging and customer experience.

Full details of the survey results can be found at:

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