US E-Commerce Ready Packaging

US E-Commerce Ready Packaging

E-commerce continues to have a profound impact on the packaging industry as companies adapt to the rapid shift from traditional retail models focused on brick-and-mortar stores and centralized distribution to one that includes online shopping and delivery direct to customer’s front doors. This shift toward home delivery is leading to significant changes in operations, infrastructure, and logistics at companies throughout the supply chain.

Retail e-commerce sales of merchandise are forecast to grow 8.9% per year to $1.4 trillion in 2028. This represents a slowdown from the high levels seen during the pandemic, but it is still well above growth in overall retail sales and most sectors of the US economy. However, the continued expansion of home delivery is having opposing impacts on the packaging industry and the types and amount of packaging used.

Sustainability Concerns Proliferate as Environmental Impact of E-Commerce Widens

The continuing robust growth of e-commerce has raised concerns about its environmental impact, particularly regarding carbon emissions from transportation and the large amount of packaging waste generated. Consumer product manufacturers, retailers, and parcel shipping companies are all looking for more sustainable practices that optimize packing and delivery, reduce the amount of shipping materials used, and include the development new eco-friendly and delivery-compatible options.

Demand for traditional e-commerce related packaging – primarily shipping boxes, mailers and associated protective packaging materials – is forecast to grow 6.4% per year to $8.5 billion in 2028, lagging growth in e-commerce sales due to continued efforts to reduce the use of excess shipping materials.

Ships in Own Container (SIOC or SIPP) Driven by Environmental Concerns & Cost Savings

E-commerce ready packaging is a new movement in the packaging industry focused on addressing the sustainability and cost issues associated with growth in direct-to-consumer shipping. These new programs focus on two key areas of development:
  • Ships in Own Container (SIOC) packaging
  • improving sustainability, efficiency, cost, and supply chain optimizations
Demand for e-commerce ready packaging is being driven by leading global e-commerce giants such as Amazon and Alibaba, who are using their influence to push suppliers to meet their standards.

The shipment of SIOC packages will continue to see double-digit growth over the next decade, reaching 6 billion units in 2028. While a small share of packages have historically been shipped in their own packaging, efforts to reduce packaging waste and improve profitability will continue to drive this shift away from traditional shipping materials.

This Freedonia industry study analyzes the e-commerce ready packaging industry and presents historical demand data for e-commerce packaging and e-commerce merchandise sales (2013, 2018, and 2023) and forecasts (2028 and 2033) by product type (boxes & mailers, protective packaging, and other) and market (computers, electronics & appliances; apparel & accessories; home furnishings; food & beverages; toys, games & sporting goods; health & beauty; and other). Annual historical data and forecasts for markets are also provided from 2013 to 2028. Data are given in dollar value.

  • Executive Summary
    • Table Figure 1-1. E-Commerce Ready Packaging Market
  • Overview
    • What is E-Commerce Ready Packaging (ECRP)?
      • Table Figure 2-1. E-Commerce-Ready Packaging: Product Examples
    • Factors Impacting Packaging Demand
    • US Retail Sales & Consumer E-Commerce Sales Outlook
      • Table US Retail Sales & Share Consumer E-Commerce, 2013, 2018, 2023, 2028, &2033
      • Table Figure 2-2. Annual Retail E-Commerce Merchandise Sales, 2013 - 2033
    • Annual Parcel Shipping Trends
      • Table Annual Parcels Shipped by Carrier, 2019 - 2023
      • Table Figure 2-3. Amazon Logistics' Growing Share of Parcel Shipping, 2018 - 2023
    • Regulations & Standards
    • Sustainability Issues
    • Global E-Commerce Trends
      • Global Retail E-Commerce Revenues Outlook
        • Table Figure 2-4. Annual Retail E-Commerce Merchandise Revenues: Global & US, 2014 - 2033
      • Global E-Commerce Ready Packaging Developments
  • Consumer Preferences Related to E-Commerce & Packaging Use
    • Recycling Attitudes & Environmental Responsibility
      • Table General Environmental Attitudes, 2023
    • Thoughts About Sustainability
      • Table Consumer Opinions on Sustainability, 2024
    • Importance of Various Sustainable Lifestyle Practices
      • Table "How important are the following practices when you think of living a sustainable lifestyle?", 2024
    • Sustainable Packaging Features Particularly Sought
      • Table Features Consumers Especially Look for When Considering "Sustainable" or "Eco-Friendly" Packaging by Gender, Age Group, Urban vs. Rural Setting, &Annual Household Income Bracket, 2023
    • Amount Spent Shopping Online
      • Table Amount Spent Shopping by Internet in the Last 6 Months by Generation, 2023
    • Shopping Activity at Leading Websites
      • Table Personally Shopped on Select Websites in the Last 6 Months by Generation, 2023
    • Online Shopping Packaging Insights
      • Table Online Shopping Packaging Insights, by Gender, Generation, &Household Income, 2024
    • QR Codes
      • Table QR Code Insights, by Gender, Generation, &Household Income, 2024
  • E-Commerce Retailer & Product Manufacturer Initiatives
    • General Trends
      • Source Reduction/Reducing Packaging Waste
      • Right-Sizing
      • Reducing Product Damage During Shipment
      • Packaging Redesign
      • Using QR Codes
    • E-Commerce Retailer Initiatives
      • Amazon
      • Walmart
      • Target
      • Subscription Companies
    • Product Manufacturer & Packaging Company Initiatives
  • Ships in Own Container (SIOC)
    • What are SIOC & SIPP?
      • Table Figure 5-1. Conventional Shipping vs. SIOC/SIPP: Product Examples
    • Number of SIOC Packages Shipped
      • Table SIOC (Ships in Own Container) Packages Shipped, 2013, 2018, 2023, 2028, &2033
      • Table Figure 5-2. Packages Shipped in Own Container (Shipped in Product Packaging), 2013, 2018, 2023, 2028, &2033
    • Amazon Drives SIOC Development through SIPP Program
      • Table Figure 5-3. Amazon SIOC Timeline
    • SIOC Impact on Shipping Container & Packaging Demand
      • Table Figure 5-4. SIOC Impact on Shipping Packaging Demand, 2018 - 2033
  • New Product Packaging Developments
    • Overview
    • Corrugated Packaging Boxes
      • Table Figure 6-1. E-Commerce Ready Corrugated Boxes: Product Examples
    • Bag-in-Box Packaging
      • Table Figure 6-2. E-Commerce Ready Bag-in-Box Packaging: Product Examples
    • Folding Cartons
      • Table Figure 6-3. E-Commerce Ready Folding Cartons: Product Examples
    • Pouches & Bags
      • Table Figure 6-4. E-Commerce Ready Pouches & Bags: Product Examples
    • Protective Packaging
      • Table Figure 6-5. E-Commerce Ready Protective Packaging: Product Examples
    • Caps & Closures
      • Table Figure 6-6. E-Commerce Ready Caps & Closures: Product Examples
  • Markets
    • Retail E-Commerce Sales Trends
      • Table US E-Commerce Merchandise Sales by Market, 2013, 2018, 2023, 2028, &2033
      • Table Figure 7-1.E-Commerce Merchandise Sales by Market,
    • E-Commerce Shipping Containers & Packaging Demand
      • Table E-Commerce Shipping Containers & Packaging Demand by Product Type & Market, 2013, 2018, 2023, 2028, &2033
    • Computers, Electronics & Appliances
      • Table Figure 7-2. Computers, Electronics, &Appliances E-Commerce Sales, 2013 - 2028
      • Table Figure 7-3. Computer, Electronics, &Appliances E-Commerce Ready Packaging: Product Examples
    • Apparel & Accessories
      • Table Figure 7-4. Apparel & Accessories E-Commerce Sales, 2013 - 2028
      • Table Figure 7-5. Apparel & Accessories E-Commerce Ready Packaging: Product Examples
    • Home Furnishings
      • Table Figure 7-6. Home Furnishings E-Commerce Sales, 2013 - 2028
      • Table Figure 7-7. Home Furnishings E-Commerce Ready Packaging: Product Examples
    • Health, Beauty, &Personal Care
      • Table Figure 7-8. Health, Beauty, &Personal Care E-Commerce Sales, 2013 - 2028
      • Table Figure 7-9. Health, Beauty, &Personal Care E-Commerce Ready Packaging: Product Examples
    • Toys, Games, &Sporting Goods
      • Table Figure 7-10. Toys, Games, &Sporting Goods E-Commerce Sales, 2013 - 2028
      • Table Figure 7-11. Toys, Games, &Sporting Goods E-Commerce Ready Packaging: Product Examples
    • Food & Beverages
      • Table Figure 7-12. Food & Beverage E-Commerce Sales, 2013 - 2028
      • Table Figure 7-13. Food & Beverage E-Commerce Ready Packaging: Product Examples
    • Other Merchandise
      • Table Figure 7-14. E-Commerce Ready Packaging for Other Merchandise: Product Examples
  • Appendix
    • Report Details
    • Definitions
    • Abbreviations
      • Table Abbreviations & Acronyms Used in Study
    • Freedonia Methodology
    • Study-Specific Methodology
    • Sources
    • Related Studies & Reports
    • Macroeconomic Assumptions
      • Economic Environment
        • Table Macroeconomic Indicators,
      • Demographic Trends
        • Table Population & Households,
      • Retail Sales
        • Table Retail Sales,

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