Global E-Commerce Packaging

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This study examines global e-commerce packaging demand at the manufacturer level. In this study, packaging is only counted when used in business-to-consumer e-commerce sales, e.g. transactions between businesses and consumers conducted via devices that access the internet, such as desktop computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and smart wearables.

Box Packaging

Packaging in this report is only considered e-commerce packaging if it is not used as a primary container for products sold in retail stores.

Demand is segmented by the following product categories:

    • boxes, including regular slotted containers, other corrugated containers such as die-cut and five-panel folder boxes, and set-up boxes
    • protective packaging, including air pillows, bubble packaging, paper fill and cushioning, loose fill, and other protective packaging products such as molded and rolled foams, gel packs, molded pulp, and paperboard protectors
    • mailers, including padded, poly, paperboard, and corrugated types
    • labels, including standard shipping labels, integrated labels, warning labels, and instructional labels
    • tape, including pressure-sensitive and water-activated types
    • insulated shipping containers
    • shrink film
    • other e-commerce packaging, such as paperboard tubes, packing list pouches, tissue paper, ribbon, and strapping

Global e-commerce packaging sales are also broken out by:

    • computers, electronics, and software
    • apparel and accessories
    • home furnishings
    • recreation goods
    • food and beverages
    • health, personal care, and beauty products
    • multimedia such as books, video, and music
    • other merchandise, such as lawn and garden products, pet products, and automotive products

This study excludes consumer-to-consumer transactions (e.g., a private individual selling used items through an online marketplace), business-to-business transactions (e.g., a business purchasing office furniture online), online sales of cars and other motor vehicles, online transactions involving houses and real estate, primary retail packaging, such as retail boxes and protective packaging used for products sold in stores (e.g., a retail box, molded foam, and plastic film used for the protection of a television in a store), and returned items.


Dark Stores

Large retail facilities that resemble conventional stores but are not open to the public, instead housing goods used to fulfill online orders.


Retailers that have traditionally had a physical store presence.

In-Store Pickup

Pickup of an order made online inside a retail store.

Curbside Pickup

Pickup of an order made online outside of a store, usually where store employees load merchandise into a customer’s vehicle.


Direct-to-consumer shipments directly from a manufacturer or wholesaler that fulfills an order from an e-commerce retailer


Reducing packaging size by using a box that minimizes empty space, decreasing the amount of protective packaging needed for void fill, paper waste, and costs while still maintaining adequate protection for the package’s contents

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