Online Shopping On The Rise, But Plastic Packaging Is Not

Nevin Barich

Nevin Barich

January 19, 2021

Last year saw a huge rise in online shopping amid the coronavirus pandemic. A recent survey suggests that trend will continue, but plastic packaging might not be coming along for the ride.

According to a Ranpak/Harris Poll survey, 67% of Americans plan to do more online shopping in 2021 than in 2020, and 68% are more likely to purchase from online retailers and brands that offer plastic-free packaging choices at checkout than online retailers that don't.

“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. “Ranpak seeks to address this issue head-on by giving retailers a better packaging option: paper.”

And indeed, the survey indicates that paper is the option Americans want. Seventy-eight percent wish more brands used paper packaging (such as paperboard boxes, paper mailers, paper fill inside the package) instead of plastic packaging (such as plastic envelope, plastic pillows inside the box, bubble wrap). Also, 68% would be more likely to purchase from online retailers and brands that offer plastic-free packaging choices at checkout than online retailers that do not.

Other findings from the survey:

Ninety-one percent had packages delivered to their home this holiday season, with 44% receiving more packages delivered to their home for the holidays in 2020 compared to 2019.

Seventy-two percent 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.

Thirty-two percent say they noticed the shipping/outer packaging that was delivered to their home for the holidays was larger than needed given the item size. In addition, 30% say there was more bubble wrap and/or other forms of plastic inside the boxes delivered to their homes this holiday compared to previous holidays.

Nevin Barich is the Consumer Products Analyst for Industry Intelligence, which can help YOU better address your own industry challenges. To arm yourself with the latest market intelligence, contact Ask us about our interactive intelligence map and search bot on Microsoft Teams.

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