COVID-19 will continue to have a long-lasting effect on e-commerce and the future of packaging. According to McKinsey & Company**, the demand for packaging is growing all over the world, with sales surpassing the $1 trillion mark in 20212.
Over the last 18 months, we have seen the demand for corrugated boxes spike with each lockdown, brightening the fortunes of the $350bn paper-based packaging industry at the heart of the e-commerce economy. The volume of cardboard used to deliver goods from retailers to households last year surged almost 40 percent, according to consultancy Smithers. And, by the end of 2020, Fisher International confirmed US containerboard consumption was at a 40-year high, with operational capacity increasing at a rate not seen for 10+ years, driven by the growth in corrugated.
Sustainability is one of the biggest contributors to the positive changes taking place in our industry as we see a definite switch towards packaging that uses fewer materials and is more natural. Companies now have a responsibility, and vested interest, in serving the needs of the new emerging consumer who is interested in a greener future. The abnormally high levels of e-commerce, coupled with the younger generations’ desire to support companies that align to their beliefs, have made people re-evaluate the issue of waste and move away from retailers with excessive or unsustainable packaging.