E-commerce explosion opens doors

Posted on November 21st, 2018 in News

The rapidly growing e-commerce market is providing opportunities in packaging, especially in short-run, on-demand, custom-sized boxes

Australians spent $21.3bn online last year, which was up a whopping 18.7 per cent on the year before, and this year’s figures may show even stronger growth. Online marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon and Alibaba all recorded what the Inside Australian Online Shopping 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 parcels 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 products 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 enormous 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 mum-and-pop operations.

Both the large and small operations 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 boxes, or 250, or 1250. If they have to order standard boxes they are then having to insert extra filler packaging to protect their products from rattling around, which means cost of the filler, cost of inserting, and the cost of transporting what is essentially waste; there are also the environmental 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 custom-sized box to suit their exact product size so they are not shipping air and waste, in run lengths to suit the order lengths so they are not paying for unused boxes, and in runs as short as they want, then it’s a match. And this is precisely what the latest generation of box making equipment provides.

At AUSPACK 2019, we’ll see  new technology and solutions to service the e-commerce sector, from exhibitors like Abbe Corrugated (Stand H232); Packsize ( H085), Orora (C080) and PackLine Solutions (I082), among others.

This article is an extract from a special feature on e-commerce packaging to be published in the November-December 2018 issue of PKN Packaging News.

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