With the majority of the population trying their best to stay home as much as possible during this unprecedented time, it’s no question that online sales have grown exponentially. But just how much have they grown? According to Adobe Analytics, U.S. online sales for September increased 43% year over year, equating to $60.4 billion. These numbers are only expected to increase with the rapidly approaching holiday season. With all of these online purchases, there is an obvious increase in the use of packaging to send and deliver goods. Now more than ever it’s important to be using sustainable packaging options for multiple reasons.

Sustainable Packaging is Increasingly Important to Consumers

When an end consumer receives an online order, their very first physical interaction with a brand is the packaging their order comes in. While there are many factors involved in this first impression like size, design, marketing materials, and more, another major aspect that consumers notice is the packaging material. 62% of shoppers participating in a 2019 survey on online consumer expectations said they are more likely to buy from a brand that uses sustainable packaging. With this statistic in mind, brands must consider moving toward recycled and recyclable packaging products helping to create a healthier planet while building positive brand awareness.

Environmental Impact

It’s been shown that when people shop online, they tend to shop more frequently, but they only buy a few items per purchase. Frequent online purchases result in a bigger impact on the environment.

Fortunately, research shows that consumers prefer receiving their items in a recyclable cardboard box. 81% of Americans rely on corrugated cardboard boxes to ship their goods safely and 71% are more likely to buy from brands that package their products in paper or cardboard. That said, the increased use of corrugated boxes hasn’t come at the expense of the environment. The recycling rate of corrugated packaging sits about 90%. Practices that also help reduce the environmental impact include using post-consumer waste materials to create corrugated boxes as well as using strong forest stewardship practices.

Using paper materials and sustainable packaging for shipping products is showing to be increasingly more important for the environment and is favored by the end consumer – much more so than some of the alternatives.

Tips for Moving to Sustainable Packaging

Considering the importance of sustainable packaging to consumers and to the environment (especially during this pandemic and moving forward), it’s a good time to consider switching to use sustainable packaging materials if you aren’t using them already. Switching to sustainable packaging doesn’t need to be difficult. Here are some tips for getting started:

Order Product Samples

Don’t feel like you need to commit to a new form of packaging before you try it out! Most suppliers allow you to order samples of your new product packaging so you can see what it will look like and even test it out on a few shipments. Once you’re convinced this is a better option, order in larger quantities to get the biggest bang for your buck.

Adjust Your Pricing

The cost of sustainable packaging is something to consider when you are making the switch, but it doesn’t need to be complicated. Once you’ve settled on a sustainable option, calculate whether you can absorb the cost or if you need to adjust your prices accordingly. Regardless of what you determine, moving to a sustainable packaging method doesn’t need to be a costly option for you.

Show Off Your New Sustainable Packaging

As we’ve discussed, consumers are fond of and prefer brands that use sustainable materials for their packaging. So, once you make the switch, you better believe you should show it off! Making your business eco-friendly is something the world should know about – it will also differentiate you from the competition. Add your sustainability efforts into your marketing and make sure your customers (and potential customers) know that you’re out there trying to make the world a better (and cleaner) place.

The Importance of Sustainable Packaging Now & Always

With increasing online orders being recognized all over and a global shift toward fighting climate change, the way we approach packaging is set to grow and change. Rather than seeing sustainable packaging as an alternative option, we should start to view it as the only option moving forward.