Overpackaged

Amazon, eBay and Tesco among worst offenders for using excess packaging, according to Brits

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

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Published: 26 December 2020

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod

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In a new study of 2,000 adults, 85% said they believe companies use too much wrapping – despite industry evidence showing a slight reduction in the materials used to deliver products.

Sainsburys, ASOS and Etsy are also among the companies respondents believe use unnecessary packaging.

But when the same study was conducted 12 months ago, 88% felt their shopping came with pointless wrapping – so there has been a decrease of 3% this year.

Toys and veg

Household appliances and children’s toys were deemed the worst items for excessive packaging in 2020 – as they were last year.

Fruit and vegetables were also among the consumer goods that are needlessly packaged, according to the study by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).

Amazon ‘worst offender’

Amazon topped the list as the worst offender both years running and has even gone up this year: 52% of respondents agreed Amazon uses too much packaging, compared with 47% previously.

On the other hand, supermarket chain Tesco dropped from 14% to 11%.

‘We wanted to see how things had changed in the last year, in terms of excess packaging.

‘While it’s positive to see a slight drop in how many people believe companies are over-packaging their goods, there are a lot of caveats.

‘We know the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have changed buying behaviours, and there has been a considerable increase in online purchasing which means more home deliveries.

‘So even where companies have improved their packaging, the increased volume and frequency of purchases will naturally push up the amount of packaging in circulation.

‘However, with over a third of people saying they judge companies based on the ethics
of their packaging, there are still serious implications for brands not living up to consumer expectations, and marketers must take note.’

GEMMA BUTLER
Director, Chartered Institute of Marketing

A company’s ethics

The study also found that in 2019, 80% of adults said they would like to see more done by large companies to promote sustainable packaging. However, in 2020 that figure has dropped to 62%.

Instead, a quarter said that as long as their product is protected by the packaging, they don’t mind if there’s excess packaging.

On the other hand, 35% admit they ‘judge’ companies based on the ethics of their packaging.

13% of adults have even complained to a company about their excess packing – but they are more likely (20%) to complain to peers.


‘It’s interesting to see how attitudes towards recyclable packing materials have changed in the last year.

‘For many, there is definitely the recognition of a need for companies to make a change, but this continues to be offset against the convenience factor that consumers have become so used to.

‘It is clear that there are huge opportunities for brands that can offer innovative ways to help customers reduce, reuse and recycle their plastic and excess packaging consumption.

‘As ever, the responsibility should lie not entirely with the consumer.

‘Companies need to continue to take the lead in developing sustainable solutions and work closely with their marketing teams in communicating these initiatives both informing and educating consumers and driving more responsible behaviours across all parts of the stakeholder chain.’

GEMMA BUTLER
Director, Chartered Institute of Marketing

2020’s excess packaging offenders

Below are the worst offenders in the eyes of consumers for using excess packaging in 2020:
1. Amazon (52%)
2. eBay (14%)
3. Tesco (11%)
4. Sainsburys (10%)
5. ASOS (10%)
6. Asda (10%)
7. Pretty Little Thing (8%)
8. Boohoo (7%)
9. Etsy sellers (7%)
10. Missguided (6%)
11. Ocado (6%)

Packaging and pricing

It emerged that three in 10 would be willing to spend more on a product if it came in more sustainable packaging.

On average, they’d pay 18% more if they knew what they were buying resulted in a more positive impact on the environment.
The findings come after several brands have started looking at ways to improve excess packaging.

The Co-op has announced that 35 stores will be fitted out with eco-refill stations, and Adidas is partnering with Parley Ocean Beach to create sustainable sportswear.

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