Unboxing the Truth: Consumer Attitudes towards Delivery Packaging

The rise of online shopping has been nothing short of phenomenon. In fact, research by IMRG Capgemini revealed that an astounding £133 billion was spent online using a UK retailer in 2016. Its growth has largely been attributed to its core value of convenience appealing to the vast majority of consumers. Consumers who are busier than ever before, therefore appreciate the simplicity of ordering something at the click of a button and then its delivery right to their doorstop. All without breaking a sweat. Additionally, in the process, avoiding the general dissatisfaction of shopping in-store: long queues and poor customer service.

Moreover, with smartphones/tablets rapidly evolving, enabling consumers on the go online shopping. Retailers have capitalised on this by developing their own ‘apps’ on these platforms to provide consumers an alternative avenue to browse and purchase goods. This has beneficially aided the expansion of online shopping and its sustainability going forward.

Online Orders and Delivery Packaging

With online shopping becoming a consumer essential for the foreseeable future, retailers have integrated it as a key component of their everyday operations. Whilst numerous retailers are carrying out the basic function of the online shopping model effectively (delivery of good(s) from merchant to consumer in the agreed time frame), many have been criticised over the amount of unnecessary delivery packaging they use to do so.

Photo credit: Olena Hromova/Shutterstock 

From retailer’s point of view, they want to make sure the online orders they send are not damaged or broken during transit therefore over compensate by using excess packaging. They are also worried about the potential implications that damaged or broken online orders could have on customer satisfaction and their brand reputation. Understandable concerns, yet retailers should be mindful of their social responsibility to the environment – as excess packaging only creates more unnecessary waste.

The notion of excessive packaging was illustrated by ITV news who found 40% of online shoppers are being sent deliveries with packaging that is too big. Disturbingly, creating an extra one million metric tonnes of waste every year according to them.

Our Survey

Interested in delivery packaging and as a 1 hour delivery service, we wanted to find out how consumers really felt about the delivery packaging of the online orders they receive from the retailers they shop with. We surveyed 892 consumers who make a purchase online for delivery at least once a month.

The survey fascinatingly revealed:

Consumer Perceptions

Bobby (26) from London said:

“I tend to order a lot online. It saves me a lot of time compared to going into shops and I get to do it in the comfort of my own home, which is always a bonus. I generally purchase clothes, shoes, books and video games online. Considering these items are usually small, it baffles me when some of them arrive in large boxes. On occasions, the delivery box has been three times the actual size of the item I ordered. It’s a bit frustrating as it’s just an unnecessary waste. I am sure retailers could make more of an effort to use appropriately sized boxes, without compromising the compatibility of packages”

Jasmine (30) from Southampton said:

“With two kids and a full-time job, I just don’t have the luxury of spare time. Online shopping for me has been a life saver. I do my grocery shopping online on a weekly bases. On top of that, if we ever need any clothes, shoes, electricals or household goods – I prefer to do buy those online as well. It’s much easier than wasting petrol driving everywhere or dealing with the common disappoint of no stock. Whilst I am usually impressed by the speediness of online orders, the packaging of deliveries can be over the top. Goods which often need minimal packaging such as basic toiletries and DVD’s – arriving in big cardboard boxes, just doesn’t make sense to me. Retailers can definitely be more efficient and thoughtful with the amount of packaging they use to pack goods”.

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