The Growth Of Ecommerce

The growth of ecommerce since the start of 2020 has certainly boomed. And I think it’s fair to say, that ecommerce retail is here to stay. In this blog we’ll look at some of the changes in consumer buying behaviour, and what is driving the growth of online purchases.



A brief history

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), online sales accounted for just 2.7% of total retail sales in January 2007. Unsurprisingly, the % is much higher now, standing at 25.5% for August 2021. The growth had been nothing short of rapid.


Interestingly, there have been ‘seasonal’ peaks since 2007, with the same month coming out on top time and time again… November has recorded the highest percentage every year from 2007 up to 2019. A large part of the November spikes can be attributed to the growth of Black Friday & Cyber Monday in the UK. Whilst some ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers are on-board with the event, it’s still very much digitally driven. Ordering items in time for Christmas also comes into play here too.


According to Forbes, sales recorded on Cyber Monday in the US in 2020 totalled a staggering $10.8 billion. Now, that’s a lot of products being purchased, packed and sent (and also returned). With such a large volume of products being shipped from online purchases, the growth of ecommerce packaging has been rapid too.



Ecommerce Packaging

It’s likely that a lot of us have purchased a book online. Lots of retailers now sell books online, and no matter who you order from, the book was probably delivered in a Book Wrap or Book Box. The change in buying behaviour to buying books online, was probably the first major step in the development, and the growth of ecommerce packaging.


It sounds simple too. Sell a book, pick it from stock, pack it, and pop it in the post. If it only is was that simple! Nowadays, you need to consider the size of the item, and the weight, if you want to benefit from savings on postage costs. This is where Pricing In Proportion (PIP) comes in. For more information on the Royal Mail Size Guide, please click here to read our blog.


Guaranteeing safe passage for the book is also crucial. Given they are relatively cheap items, handing refunds, and processing returns, can be a costly exercise. Not to mention having a disgruntled customer!


Here at Springpack, we offer a wide range of products specifically designed for ecommerce retailers. And like reported above, we have seen incredible growth in demand for such products. The selling of books online helped to change the face of ecommerce packaging. And it didn’t stop there…


Ecommerce Packaging




Postal Boxes

As soon a retailers cottoned on to the ability to successfully sell books online, it wasn’t long before larger items were widely available. This led to the development of Postal Boxes. This really opened up the market, and allowed products of all shapes and sizes to be sent to customers.


And with customers also needing to return some items purchased online, the birth of the returnable postal box wasn’t far away!


To put the growth of Postal Boxes into numbers, we have seen year on year sales increase of 167% (sales-i sales data from 1st January to 30th September 2020 and 2021).


Our new range of Returnable Postal Boxes are generating considerable interest too, with sales well ahead of the target we set. We firmly believe this product is the future of ecommerce packaging, and we’ll be look to develop, and add to the range, in 2022.


Returnable Postal Boxes




Mailing Bags

From ear rings to shoes, and catalogues to mobile phones, Mailing Bags can be used to post virtually anything. They comes in all shapes and sizes too. From traditional bubble lined Jiffy Bags to recyclable Polythene Mailing Bags, the demand in this area shows no signs of slowing down.


The use of a Mailing Bag generally reduces the need for additional packaging products too. As they have a self seal strip, it eliminates the requirement for tape.


Polythene Mailing Bags are typically grey, which allows the goods within to be concealed. This adds an extra level of security when sending your items. If you require a clear bag, we currently stock an A4 option. This is often used for posting catalogues, or other promotional marketing materials.


In terms of the growth in mailing bags, we have seen an 82% increase in year on year sales. Like our Postal Boxes, the growth we are seeing is being driven by the boom in ecommerce. As more high value items are available to order online, companies have had to take the relevant measures to ensure the are delivered safely, and securely.


The development of Mailing Bags is moving fast too, with some manufactured from eco-friendly materials now too. Watch this space for our new range launching soon too!


Mailing Bags


Paper Tape

There’s no doubting that Paper Tape is clever. In fact, it’s really clever.


It’s a fantastic alternative to traditional packing tapes, and it’s 100% recyclable. What’s more, it forms an incredibly strong bond when applied to a Cardboard Box. It basically becomes part of the box itself. This means any tampering is evident, and will act as a deterrent.


Water-activated tapes are available, and machines are required to activate the adhesive. They are quick and simply to use. They are quiet too. There are standard, semi-re-enforced and fully re-enforced tape options too. All will bond with the Cardboard Box, and all are fully recyclable.


As consumers are demanding more and more eco-friendly packaging alternatives, Paper Tapes have seen a significant year on year growth for Springpack. A staggering growth of 723.3% shows there the market is going!



So how is this linked to ecommerce?

Put simply, some packages are secured with tape! And with eco alternatives remaining really important to consumers, it’s naturally seen an uplift.


As a stand alone product, we believe that Paper Tape is exceptional. Our customers think so too. In addition to being eco-friendly, bespoke printing options are available. Please click here to see how we transformed Paper Tape for John Lewis of Hungerford!


Paper Tape



The future of retail is firmly online. More and more retailers are enhancing their digital footprint, which will only increase the growth of ecommerce. It’s vital that packaging keeps up with the trend. And at Springpack, it’s a massive focus for us, and for our customers.



If you’d like further information on any of the Ecommerce Packaging solutions that we stock at Springpack, get in touch with the Packaging Pros today! You can reach us by calling 01905 457 000 or by emailing [email protected]. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel too!

About the author

Profile image of Simon Rees
Simon Rees
I am Springpacks Head of Marketing covering all aspects of marketing. I specialise in digital marketing with almost 15 years experience.
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