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Online retailers must focus on packaging sustainability

Almost a third of online shoppers want their purchases to be sent in more environmentally friendly packaging and they’re prepared to pay more for it – that’s the main finding of Macfarlane Packaging’s Annual Unboxing Survey. Asked for the first time about the green credentials of the packaging they received, 39 per cent of internet shoppers classified it as “not environmentally friendly” and this was particularly evident among fashion shoppers where the figure was 54 per cent. Overall, 29 per cent of respondents said they would be willing to pay more for greener packaging, with those buying Health and Beauty products leading the way at 33 per cent. Macfarlane Packaging, which undertook the research, is the UK’s leading distributor of protective packaging to a broad range of sectors. Elsewhere, the Macfarlane Packaging Unboxing Survey revealed that retailers are using too much packaging. 23 per cent of respondents reported too much packaging for their purchases, with Health and Beauty once again being the biggest culprit with 43 per cent of shoppers reporting this.

Results at a glance:

39 per cent packaging was “not environmentally friendly”

29 per cent willing to pay more for greener packaging

23 per cent reported inappropriately sized packaging eg: too large or small for product

23 per cent reported too much packaging for their purchases eg: overpacking

Laurel Granville, Marketing Director of Macfarlane Packaging, said: “What we can see from the survey results is that the public’s conscience is resulting in a demand for greener packaging and while there are improvements in other areas there is still work to do. Too much packaging remains a current focus and major challenge for retailers as they balance the need to ensure their product arrives undamaged while managing customer demands for more sustainable and appropriate packaging. With video blogging and consumer reviews on the increase, retailers are under pressure to ensure the unboxing experience lives the brand values in all ways. At Macfarlane, we can help retailers in their choice of packaging to ensure it cost effectively addresses the sustainability concerns of their customers.”

The Annual ‘Unboxing’ Survey looked at packaging performance across a wide range of online retailers with over 200 surveys completed. The surveys covered goods in the Fashion, Health and Beauty, Home and Garden and Food & Drink sectors, with goods ranging from candles and perfume to large furniture. Macfarlane Packaging also asked shoppers about the environmentally friendly attributes of packaging and assessed consumer attitudes towards paying more for more sustainable packaging.

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