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New consumer survey highlights packaging challenges in retail

A woman opening a parcel

Macfarlane Packaging, our parent company, has announced the results of their 2018 Unboxing Survey. Over 200 consumers took part and the results highlight that retailers still have work to do when it comes to getting packaging right.

In fact, almost a quarter of consumers believe that the deliveries they receive are over packed. This remains one of the key challenges for retailers, as consumers are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of packaging.

The 2018 Unboxing Survey

This is the third consecutive year that Macfarlane Packaging has conducted an unboxing survey concerning online retailers. This year, 60% of responses covered items across fashion, home & garden and health & beauty sectors.

As well as over packing, it was discovered that almost one in three consumers believe packaging wasn’t a good fit for the products they’d ordered. Plus, over a third of respondents had no returns information in their packaging – making the customer journey more difficult when it comes to sending goods back.

Key findings of the research

  • 31% had no branding on the pack, inside or outside
  • 29% did not reflect the value of the brand
  • 34% had no returns information
  • 24% used too much packaging
  • 29% were not a good fit for the product
  • 9% were not easy to open
  • 10% used too little packaging
  • 8% were not easy to dispose of
  • 6% of products arrived damaged

Sector specific insights

The challenge to balance adequate packaging with transit protection is still a big concern for retailers of all sectors. Growing environmental focus put the pressure on to make sure packaging is eco-friendly and produces minimal waste, without compromising product safety.

Although, insights do vary from sector to sector. In the fashion category, consumers scored packaging highly in most areas – however 22% respondents said packaging didn’t reflect their brand – offering room for improvement.

Home & garden retailers suffered most on the damages front – with 12% of their deliveries arriving with damages. Perhaps, due to the varying size, weight and fragility of these products. Interestingly, consumers in this category were the most critical of over use of packing materials.

In contrast only 3% of healthy & beauty products arrived damaged. However, 40% of consumers stated the packaging used wasn’t a good fit for the products. This further emphasises the balancing act retailers face when it comes to packaging.

Packaging support for retailers

The results of the survey show there’s still room for retailers to improve when it comes to packaging and that each industry faces its own challenges. Universal packaging solutions aren’t always the answer.

At Network Packaging, we have a Smartpack service that’s dedicated to helping retailers and their 3PL suppliers get packaging right. Email us or complete our contact form to learn more.

Click here to view the full results and download the whitepaper.