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75% of UK adults want less packaging used in online shopping

March 2019

Millennials are not as environmentally
friendly as over 35s but are willing to pay more for eco packaging

In a survey of UK adults by Whistl, the leading delivery management company, 75% of respondents said they wanted e-retailers to minimise parcel packaging waste and use environmentally friendly materials for packaging their online purchases.

In a surprise finding, Millennials do not appear to be as environmentally friendly as previously thought as they find excess packaging to be less of an issue than for those aged over 35.

However, they are more open minded and willing to pay the most for eco-friendly packaging at £1.19 per package compared to just 47p extra by the over 65s.  Resistance to paying extra is lowest in London and the South East and highest in Northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

It appears that the UK public still does not think about parcel packaging when placing an order, with 58% considering it to be an afterthought or not at all.   As for educating consumers on how their order is packaged, there is some interest in getting information before they buy but only 1 in 5 are very interested.

Although too much packaging is the third biggest frustration after cost and delays when buying online 58% are unlikely to do anything or do not care about the volume of packaging.

However, 42% say that they would take or have taken some sort of action if an order arrives in what they consider to be non-eco-friendly packaging, especially from Baby and Child product retailers.  If consumers do choose to voice their concerns, they are more likely to either leave a bad review about the business or inform friends and family via word of mouth; with a further 15% choosing not to purchase from the company again.

When pressed for what respondents consider environmentally friendly parcel packaging to mean, the majority (92%) strongly associate it as an item that can be recycled.

Melanie Darvall, Director of Marketing and communications, commented:

“These results show that although some consumers do care about the environmental impact of their packaging the cost of delivery and secure product packaging are the most important factors influencing UK online shoppers.

“However, businesses should think about minimising the amount of packaging sent to a consumer and ensuring that it can be recycled kerbside could boost how satisfied your customer will be once their item has been delivered.”

The survey of 1,000 UK respondents took place in January 2019.


With specialised warehouse facilities we can offer you a bespoke pick and pack service. You can be sure that your product reaches your customer safely, using only the packaging that is needed for each order to reduce wastage.

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