Page 52 - Packaging News Magazine Nov-Dec 2018
P. 52

E-commerce unboxed
The rapidly growing e-commerce market is providing opportunities in packaging, especially in short-run, on-demand, custom-sized boxes, reports PKN associate editor Wayne Robinson.
USTRALIANS spent $21.3bn on- line last year, which was up a whopping 18.7 per cent on the year before, and this year’s fig- ures may show even stronger growth. Online marketplac- es such as eBay, Amazon and Alibaba all recorded what the Inside Australian Online Shop- ping Report called ‘massive growth’. The country’s primary parcels mover Australia Post delivered 37 million parcels in December last year, with a record 2.5 million par- cels in a single day. According to AusPost, of the major categories fashion was the top selling category, increasing by 27.2 per cent in the year, while health and beauty prod-
ucts saw a 13.2 per cent growth, and homewares and appliances were up by 10.9 per cent.
This enormous growth in online shopping means a corresponding enor- mous growth in parcels. Not all online products come in a corrugated parcel: fashion, in fact, is mainly delivered in flexible packaging. However, a large amount of online product is delivered in corrugated parcels, from established brands as well as bespoke, boutique, and mom-and-pop operations.
Both the large and small opera- tions represent a huge opportunity for short-run, just-in-time boxes. Smaller scale product producers especially do not want to order 5000 boxes, which is often the minimum
for a custom size, but rather 50 box- es, or 250, or 1250. If they have to or- der standard boxes they are then having to insert extra filler packag- ing to protect their products from rattling around, which means cost of the filler, cost of inserting, and the cost of transporting what is essen- tially waste; there are also the envi- ronmental issues of using filler, which may not be eco-friendly. In addition they have to find the space to store the boxes they will use later, and manage the inventory.
However, if they can order a cus- tom-sized box to suit their exact product size so they are not shipping air and waste, in run lengths to suit order lengths so they are not paying
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