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Consumers have come to expect sustainable packaging, study finds


Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious and annoyed when online orders arrive in a box three sizes too large, or with an “absurd” amount of plastic packing material, according to research by ecommerce fulfilment firm PFS.

Some 61% of respondents to PFS’ Conscious Commerce research – which questioned 4,000 people in total, half from the US and half from the UK – said they now expect to have the option of sustainable packaging when they buy online. In the UK the figure was slightly higher at 65%, and slightly lower (56%) in the US.

At the same time, 69% of UK respondents are willing to wait for online orders to be delivered in one package rather than having a number of deliveries, compared to 62% in the US.

What does this mean for retailers?
PFS said brands and retailers have an excellent opportunity to win over existing and new customers with a clear commitment to improving eco-credentials. Whether that is by using less packaging, or just being clever about the packaging they do use, it expects to see retailers utilising options such as right size packaging and exploring packaging innovations.

PFS added that overhead costs can often be reduced too, describing this as a “win-win”.

Zach Thomann, chief operating officer at PFS, said: “Sustainability and eco-friendly options are becoming increasingly important to consumers and retailers need to find smart solutions to appeal to this growing focus.

“A sustainability negotiation needs to occur between retailer and consumer – if retailers adapt their business model by incorporating paperless options like QR codes as well as taking steps to educating their customer on best practice when it comes to ensuring their purchase journey is sustainable, then businesses are well on their way to appealing to and retaining their customer base.”

The ecommerce fulfilment company recommended retailers also look at reusable packaging, or materials which are compostable or biodegradable.

Read more: Growth 2000 UK businesses are transforming their packaging for good

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