Macfarlane Packaging’s latest Unboxing Survey reveals that 55% of consumers are prioritising sustainability, emphasising the use of recycled materials and packaging that supports reuse or recycling.

Notably, 20% of participants expressed a strong willingness to boycott retailers neglecting sustainable packaging practices, signalling a significant shift in consumer behaviour.

Online retail resilience

The shift to online retail persists, with 66% of respondents spending more time shopping online and 23% expecting to increase their online shopping in the future. 

Despite economic challenges impacting disposable income and a dip in e-commerce revenue in the first half of 2023, Macfarlane Packaging’s survey unveils a positive trend.

Online retailers have made substantial strides in enhancing the sustainability of their packaging during these challenging times. 

The survey also reflects a positive impact on the overall online shopping experience. 

Key findings

Survey highlights include a notable 66% reduction in overpacking since 2016, with only 14% of consumers reporting excess packaging. 

Branding on packaging has seen a significant increase, rising from 39% in 2016 to 57% in 2023. 

Damaged parcels have decreased year-on-year to 6%, representing a 40% drop since the inaugural consumer survey in 2016. 

Additionally, an overwhelming 95% of consumers prefer home delivery over Click & Collect or lockers when making online purchases.

Implications for retailers

Conducted in July and August 2023, the annual survey garnered insights from 1,042 respondents. 

The results provide retailers with invaluable information to make informed decisions about packaging, aligning their strategies with evolving consumer preferences in a sustainable manner.

Commenting on the survey results, Macfarlane Packaging marketing director Laurel Granville said: “It is clear that retailers need to continually adapt and innovate their packaging to meet customers’ expectations in a sustainable way.”