eCommerce packaging trends for 2024 and beyond: how consumers feel and what society needs

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A man and a woman unpacking items from corrugated boxes

The substantial report on Key eCommerce trends and consumer attitudes to packaging released by Mondi in 2024, which is based on a survey of 6,000 customers across Europe and Turkey, contains important findings that all eCommerce retailers should take note of.

As a yearly publication, this fifth edition includes an additional 1,000 consumers with more in-depth insights and a desire to provide eCommerce brands with key information on how they can best meet the needs of consumers. The study covers six major European markets: Czech Republic, France, Germany, Poland, Sweden, and Turkey.

Mondi Group’s eCommerce Director, Nedim Nisic, states: “We felt compelled to share more than just packaging trends this time to shed light on spending habits, shopping frequency, social commerce use, and behaviour related to recycling and reuse, among other things. The result is a treasure trove of data useful for every eCommerce company, not only those trying to satisfy consumers' packaging demands but to influence the entire experience. We also wanted to promote collaboration among the packaging industry, eCommerce platforms, and other key stakeholders to meet consumer expectations and sustainability efforts. Success hinges on packaging agility and collaborative efforts.”

Emerging trends and newer insights include what’s happening around social commerce, as well as recommerce but overall, the report looks at four key areas:

  • Consumer shopping behaviour
  • Attitudes towards packaging and unboxing experiences
  • Perceptions and behaviours towards recycling and reusing
  • Future of eCommerce packaging in 2024 and beyond
A man and a woman unpacking items from a corrugated box. The image title reads Annual eCommerce trend report 2024

Trend no.1: Social commerce becoming mainstream and shopping fashion is still an online favourite

Trend no.2: Cheaper prices, saving time and home delivery should be part of the standard shopping experience

Trend no 3: Sustainable solutions for online retail and protective packaging remain a priority

Trend no 4: Thoughtful packaging in online shopping means the unboxing experience should be considered

The future of eCommerce Packaging 

When it comes to the future of eCommerce packaging, understanding the consumer's post-order behaviour and package disposal habits is just as important as the experience of receiving it.

Since sustainability is a top future packaging demand for consumers, this survey provides additional insight into their level of knowledge and willingness to take action regarding packaging waste.

The packaging material itself can influence what consumers do with it after receiving their products. For example, a surprising finding is that nearly half,47% of Boomers say they are most likely to put their packaging in a recycling bin, compared to just under a third (32%) of Gen Z. The younger generation is more likely not to recycle, putting things in general waste, but is this because they’re the ones buying clothing more often, which tends to come in plastic packaging?

Investing in more sustainable packaging instead of plastic mailer bags could be a step in the right direction for an online fashion company trying to fulfil their net-zero aims and change the way younger generations perceive and use packaging.

Findings also show the barriers and reasons consumers do not regularly recycle packaging. The second most popular reason is that they are “not sure what’s recyclable” (29%)  and in terms of reuse, 40% cite that “what I receive is generally not suitable for reuse.”

This suggests that online retailers should have a larger role in informing, educating, and encouraging consumers on how to dispose of their waste, reuse, or recycle it.

Solutions can be in the form of print copy on the packaging itself with easily understood steps, a one-page leaflet with innovative ideas on reusing the packaging, or blog posts to educate. For example, leading meal kit delivery service, Gousto, has this “How to Recycle” blog and “5 Ways to Reuse” blog.

Additionally, many retailers have a social and environmental responsibility now to ensure their products and packaging are designed in such a way that they can be physically disposed of in a compostable way, recycled, or reused. It is as much a regulatory response as it is a response to consumer demands. In addition to satisfying sustainability requirements from the standpoint of consumer expectations and an authentic and ethical commitment to environmental stewardship, the entire value chain and all suppliers can collaborate with brands and retailers to guarantee comprehensive compliance.

Last but not least, more than half of consumers (58%) say they expect nearly all of their parcels to be delivered in compostable or recyclable packaging, which speaks to the barrier outlined in trend number four, where packaging is seen as hard to recycle.

Overall, the future of eCommerce packaging has a substantial focus on sustainability and environmentally friendly packaging without compromising paper quality, protection capabilities, or the overall unboxing experience.

In that regard, Mondi aspires to help our customers achieve all of those goals. We are a sustainable, innovative, and scalable packaging solutions provider.

Sustainability is in our DNA and we provide bespoke designs, ensuring your products are well protected and satisfy your customer’s every need. The gift of joy in unboxing, reusing, or recycling is easily met with our years of experience, thorough research, and our award-winning innovative capabilities. 

[1] Source: Deloitte Insights, As Seen in Your Feed, Shopping Goes Social, Trending Passed US $1 Trillion in Annual Sales, 30 November 2022

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