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Packing Material Evolution

Packaging has been around for centuries, with some materials that are still in use today:

Glass has been around since 1200 BC, and is still used in modern day for items such as:

Medicine, liquids, spirits and high value goods.

Metal has been around since 1200 AD, and was generally used for food, paint in the form of cans/foil.

Paper paved the way for flexible packaging and was first used for paperboards, labels, bags etc.

With the Internet becoming more and more popular, it has led to a significant rise in e-commerce with an increasing amount of people exchanging goods and services from all over the world on a day to day basis. Buyers are now able to shop from the comfort of their own doorstep, rather than having to travel and shop traditionally in store. It was recorded that UK online sales exceeded £130 billion in 2016, a 16% increase from 2015, this was heavily fueled by smartphone sales.

The E-commerce world is showing no signs of slowing down, this has generated new demands for the packaging industry. Without the packaging goods, e-businesses are unable to distribute their goods out to their buyers, in turn, creating a huge market for suppliers.

During the mid 80s and early 90s saw an upswing in plastic packaging  The use of plastic signalled to be a turning point in the packaging industry as plastic could come in all sizes, shapes and designs as possible. Plastic was very durable, and with it being lighter, it made transportation much more easier. Materials such as Polystyrene, PVC and Polyethylene are all still very much used in modern day.

However, with the excessive use of plastics, the environmental affects were booming apparent. In modern day, consumers are far more environmentally aware with there being a heavy focus on reducing our carbon footprint. With this, consumers are also seeking out products that are sustainable.  The packaging industry has also followed this trend, using the latest technological advancements in order to produce goods that are recyclable and ultimately environmentally friendly. An example of this is Buxton, who used technological advancements to massively reduce their carbon footprint.

Packaging in modern day is very much involved in brand identity, it decides the customer behaviour and how appealing it is to them. The rise of the digital age in the past decade it has became of major force in a consumers shopping behaviour.

With the Internet becoming more and more popular, it has led to a significant rise in e-commerce with an increasing amount of people exchanging goods and services from all over the world on a day to day basis. Buyers are now able to shop from the comfort of their own doorstep, rather than having to travel and shop traditionally in store. It was recorded that UK online sales exceeded £130 billion in 2016, a 16% increase from 2015, this was heavily fueled by smartphone sales.

With the market becoming so saturated it is important for businesses to differentiate themselves from their competition. People now hire graphics designers to design the outer packaging which can influence sales. Technology is advancing everyday and undoubtedly the packaging industry and materials used will evolve too. Increased packaging efficiency, unique branding and design and sustainable packaging are amongst things we can expect within the upcoming years.