According to the DS Smith study, Covid-19 has also led to 68% of people stating they try to spend as little time in-store as possible
UK-based packaging business DS Smith is warning brands and retailers that Covid-19 does not mean they can overlook their environmental efforts.
This follows on from European-based research found that shoppers continue to prioritise sustainable packaging.
The new study, conducted by DS Smith and market researcher Ipsos MORI, also revealed that despite the global health crisis, shoppers still have their eye on the environment.
It found that 85% of consumers wanted to buy products that use as little packaging as possible, while 29% admit they have stopped buying particular brands altogether because their packaging was not sustainable.
The analysis was carried out among 9000 respondents across 12 European countries and shows that while shopping habits may have changed, sustainability continues to be key.
DS Smith’s packaging division CEO Stefano Rossi said: “We’ve spent the last eight months helping our customers adapt to a seismic shift in consumer behaviour and the ever-evolving challenges of the pandemic.
“As a leader in innovative packaging solutions we need to understand how consumer attitudes change to be able to best serve our customers and society.
“This new research not only reveals what has changed because of Covid-19, it also shows what priorities have endured and that sustainability is still front of mind for consumers across Europe.
“Retailers and brands need to embrace sustainable packaging at such an important time to ensure they reap the environmental and consumer benefits.”
More than half of consumers concerned about hygiene due to Covid-19, says DS Smith research
According to the study, the pandemic has also led to 68% of people agreeing they try to spend as little time in-store as possible, which has prompted sizeable growth in e-commerce.
Additionally, 48% of online shoppers say they have received “unsustainable” e-commerce packing, while 22% say they have stopped buying from some online retailers because the packaging they sent was not sustainable.
Hygiene is another concern for consumers with 57% saying they wash their hands thoroughly after touching e-commerce packaged products, with 30% throwing the packaging away more quickly – highlighting the need for visible, straightforward disposal information.
Alongside this, 56% of shoppers now worry about how many people have touched in-store products, with this figure being as high as 78% in Portugal, 68% in Spain and 65% in the UK.
Consequently, some choose items from the back of the shelf because people are less likely to have touched them.
Additionally, 33% wash or disinfect all loose items such as fruit and vegetables and 12% now avoid buying loose unpacked goods.
In order to counteract this, DS Smith has developed new innovative packaging designs such as corrugated punnets for fruits and vegetables, eco-boxes for eggs, and handling solutions for bottles and dairy products.