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The RRD 2023 (Un)Packaging Reality Report

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RRD ecommerce packaging report graph

The RRD 2023 (Un)Packaging Reality Report provides valuable insights into the ever-evolving landscape of e-commerce and its impact on packaging and label demands.

Sustainability stands tall despite market pressures and competing priorities.


The report draws its conclusions from a survey conducted in Spring 2023, involving 300 decision-makers in procurement, brand marketing, and packaging and labels engineering across various sectors in the United States.

Table of Contents

Key Highlights of the Report:

Stability in Supply Chains and Market Conditions:

Despite ongoing challenges, there has been a noticeable stabilisation in supply chains and market conditions. This is a shift from the previous year's dynamics, where concerns about staffing, capacity, and speed to market were more prevalent.

Sustained Growth in E-commerce Driving Packaging Demands:

The report notes a consistent increase in e-commerce orders, leading to a corresponding rise in the need for packaging and labeling solutions. This trend has necessitated changes in materials used for packaging and the development of e-commerce-specific package designs and structures.

Sustainability as a Core Focus:

Over three-quarters of the respondents indicated progress towards their organisation’s sustainability goals. This includes prioritising reduction of material waste, recyclability of materials, and the inclusion of recycled content in packaging. The emphasis on sustainability is likely to continue shaping packaging strategies in the near future.

Adaptation in Label and Packaging Strategies:

The survey revealed that a significant proportion of decision-makers had to adapt their packaging and labeling selections. This includes changing materials due to availability, and, in the case of labels, efforts to improve cost efficiency and readability.

Both the UK and USA have seen a surge in e-commerce, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic. This has led to a greater demand for packaging and labeling solutions.In both markets, there is an increasing focus on sustainability in packaging.

This includes using recyclable materials and reducing waste, which is driven by consumer awareness and regulatory pressures.

The need for agility and innovation in packaging and labeling is evident in both markets. Companies are adapting to changing consumer preferences and the shift towards online shopping.


In summary, the RRD 2023 (Un)Packaging Reality Report underscores the significant impact of e-commerce on packaging and labeling demands, with a strong focus on sustainability and innovation. These trends, while highlighted in the context of the U.S., also reflect parallel shifts in the UK market, illustrating a global movement towards more sustainable and e-commerce-aligned packaging solutions​​​​​​.



A large infographic highlighting how Ecommerce growth impacts on packaging and labelling sectors in the USA

This article was written by...

Nathan Calvert

Nathan is Head of Digital at The Packaging Club. He has worked in the packaging sector for over 15 years across food, consumer electronics, FMCG ecommerce and more, both directly in-house or as a freelance consultant.

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