Brands failing to make online shopping eco-friendly could get left behind

Sustainable e-commerce packaging is a must for businesses - not just because of the environmental benefits, but also to keep more demanding shoppers satisfied

Consumers are increasingly putting their purchasing power behind eco-friendly products, meaning brands that fail to embrace sustainable packaging risk being left out at the check-out. As e-commerce continues to boom, sustainable packaging giant DS Smith reveals new data showing a surge in demand for fully recyclable and more sustainable packaging options for e-commerce.

The explosion in e-commerce has been undeniable, with 66% of Europeans claiming to have shopped online more since the initial lockdown in March 2020 and 82% planning to shop online at the same level or more post lockdown. DS Smith has seen demand skyrocket for sustainable e-commerce packaging over the past year - with European growth of 35% in apparel, 35% in home and office electronics, and 51% in food and groceries.


However, brands must recognise changing consumer demands as they respond to this opportunity. Almost a third of European shoppers say they have stopped buying particular brands altogether because their packaging was not sustainable. While nearly half of Europeans (46%) say they want to use more cardboard or paper-based packaging rather than plastic based packaging and 58% saying that they want less packaging overall.

Stefano Rossi, CEO DS Smith Packaging commented: “With such a dramatic change in the way we shop, it’s absolutely vital that our new online shopping habits are supported in a way that protects the environment. It’s clear that both businesses and consumers are becoming increasingly focused on sustainable alternatives. Our expert team of designers are creating new e-commerce solutions for products such as clothing, electronics, beauty and personal care every day, which provides both environmental and commercial advantages for businesses.”

From clothing, home and office electronics to food and drink using recyclable paper-based packaging can help a brand increase market share. With a portfolio of more than 700 e-commerce solutions, DS Smith makes it easy for brands to choose sustainable packaging without compromising on design or performance. The company has just unveiled three new hero ranges of sustainable e-commerce packaging within clothing, electronics, and wine and beer.


The sustainable e-commerce packaging ranges are designed to answer specific product needs, while enhancing the consumer experience and supporting efficient product delivery. Solutions include paper-based edge protectors to keep electronics safe all the way to the doorstep, while replacing traditional plastic foam; as well as tamper evident packaging with a smart feature to ensure it has not been opened during delivery. DS Smith offers returnable expanding cardboard envelopes that replace padded mailers or plastic wrappers for clothing. All without compromising on sustainability.

By applying its Circular Design Principles, DS Smith is helping to design for recyclability, design out waste and pollution, and create packaging suited to a circular economy. The company has recently set environmental targets to manufacture fully recyclable or reusable packaging by 2023 and take 250,000 lorries of the road by 2025.


Know more about DS Smith's new hero ranges of sustainable e-commerce packaging!