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The Top Unboxing Trends in E-Commerce

The customer unboxing experience has hit its peak thanks to the e-commerce revolution. Here are some of the most popular unboxing trends you should know.

Executive summary:

  • Far from a passing trend, unboxing has become a key point of contact between brands and their consumers.
  • Unboxing continues to evolve, with more sophisticated packaging for a more sophisticated consumer.
  • Consumers expect more variety in their unboxing experiences now, from sustainability messaging to brand-specific designs and imagery.
  • E-commerce has taken over, so shippers should look into eye-catching protective packaging such as AirSpeed® Hybrid Cushioning to deliver a “winner” at-home experience.


E-commerce is here to stay — the channel’s pull on retail is undeniable. This holiday season, e-commerce sales in the United States rose nearly 11% compared to the same period last year,  during which e-commerce sales jumped an impressive 61% compared to pre-pandemic levels. Further, this holiday season e-commerce sales accounted for 20.9% of total retail sales (in 2019, online sales made up only 14.6% of all retail sales). That means a lot of deliveries and a lot of packaging — and a lot of unboxing.

Unboxing trends can be a window into the heart of the consumer, telling you what they want and helping you align products with those expectations. Combining protective packaging with the unboxing experience means creating a purchase journey that is solid and cohesive from the moment they click the checkout button.


Why Unboxing Became Popular

The early 2010s saw the rise of the “unboxing video,” in which consumers would record themselves opening up products that were either hard to find or simply interesting for their followers. It didn’t take long for brands to realize that this was happening and start to craft packages that catered to that specific audience.

Flashy unboxing experiences don’t appeal to everyone, though. So you don’t necessarily want to pack in confetti with every blender you sell. More recently, shippers have explored what people want from their purchases and what value exists in creating avenues to reach them through protective packaging.


Top Unboxing Trends

There’s an unboxing trend for basically every group of consumers these days, depending on what they expect from the brand or retailer that they buy from. Here are some of the most common trends to keep an eye on.


Sustainable Unboxing

With every new e-commerce consumer, there is another person who comes face-to-face with the amount of packaging needed to keep their products safe. This has driven a subset of customers to look for retailers or brands that go the extra mile and package their goods in ways that reduce environmental impact.

Reaching these consumers requires new products that prioritize sustainability. Products like

Pregis’ Renew line and in particular Renew Zero offer consumers and shippers high-quality packaging that also makes a difference. Renew line air cushions are made with minimum 30% post-consumer recycled material.  Renew Zero is made with 50 percent post-consumer recycled and 50% renewable material and features a tinted grey hue to show consumers its sustainability profile. Renew Zero eliminates the use of fossil-based plastic and is CO2 neutral.


Branded Unboxing

Making a statement with your unboxing aesthetics can have a purpose, especially if you want to inspire more loyalty in your consumers through branding. Crafting packages to invoke a brand through witty, exciting, or surprising messages can be an easy way to connect to consumers after they’ve already made a purchase.

Pregis Inspyre paper is designed to be able to match the unboxing experience directly to the brand experience with customized colours that can be directly dispensed into the box with a Pregis Easypack® Quantum™ machine.


Personalized Unboxing

Customization as a trend has only grown during the rise of e-commerce — and adding personalized messages during unboxing is a great way to help consumers feel involved and connected to their purchases. Shippers can add personalized touches like handwritten notes, stickers, treats, and other goodies as well to send home the message that their money was well spent on a brand that understands them.

Want more information on how Pregis products can elevate the unboxing experience for your customers?