The Evolution of Packaging in an E-Commerce World

Strategy Briefing

About This Report

Mar 2018

Growing internet retailing sales are impacting consumers’ purchasing habits globally. In turns, this has changed packaging requirements and demands, with the rise in home deliveries translating into lighter pack types and polarised pack sizes. Altogether, packaging’s role in protecting its content has never been as important. It is also answering consumers’ new preferred formats when purchasing online, with smart technologies expected to play a stronger role in packaging too.

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The Evolution of Packaging in an E-Commerce World

Rising internet retailing emphasises packaging shifts

Global internet access is increasing rapidly. This is changing how consumers arepurchasing goods, which also has an impact on packaging. Primary, secondary,closure and shipment packaging play a larger role in protecting their contentduring deliveries while also answering consumers’ new preferred formats whenpurchasing goods online.

Home delivery promotesmultipacks

In terms of packaging, the convenience of home delivery translates intoconsumers choosing multipacks or a larger number of smaller pack sizedproducts instead of a full size one.

Lighter packaging benefits both consumers and brand owners

There is an increasing demand for lightweight packaging, which can be achievedthrough shifts in pack types, from glass to PET bottles or from folding carton toplastic pouches for instance. This benefits both retailers for which lighterpackaging can save transportation costs and consumers who can also be savingin terms of delivery fees.

Towards pack sizePOLARISATION andaffordability

Internet retailing offers a larger choice of smaller pack sized products, such astravel sizes and samples, in comparison to physical stores. It also promoteslarger family pack sizes thanks to the convenience of home deliveries. These twotrends both respond to consumers’ demand for more affordable products.

Future packaging to embrace technology

As internet retailing is set to continue to grow, packaging shifts are expected tocontinue. Smart and connected technologies should also play a stronger role inpackaging, which should in turn adapt itself to facilitate rising automatedprocesses, such as enabling communication with smart appliances.


Key findings

Global Overview

Rising internet access is altering shopping behaviour and packaging
Outer delivery packaging differs according to retailer type
Stronger and more convenient packaging for rising home deliveries
Where packaging industries fit within internet retailing

Demand for Better Consumer Experience

Luxury brands extend their premium experience through packaging
Consumers experience more through smart and connected packaging
Technology supported by brand owners and packaging manufacturers

Spotlight on Food, Drinks and Pet Food

Convenience, choice and health drive packaging online

Spotlight on food, drinks and pet food

PET bottles benefit from online retailing and health trend in China…
… as well as in South Korea and France
Access to foreign baby food brands in China leads to smaller pack types
Rise in online retailing leads to new developments in wine in the UK
Potential shift from folding carton to flexible plastic for breakfast cereals
Premiumisation, convenience and internet drive pet food pouches

Spotlight on Beauty and Home Care

Packaging shifts to offer affordability, lightweight and choice
Online sales drive smaller pack sizes for beauty products
Smaller formats reflect changes in consumers’ purchasing habits
Greater demand for 0-50ml fragrances for affordability and choice
Lightweight packaging in Japan…
… facilitates the delivery of goods
Family sizes for laundry detergents on the rise in China