Many adults have received damaged packages in the last year

Nearly half of Brits have received damaged packages in the last year- at an estimated cost of £8 billion, research has revealed.

A study of 2,000 adults found each have had an average of three items arrive compromised across the last 12 months, worth an average of £115 each.

Household items such as crockery, as well as clothes, food and drink were the top items to turn up in less than perfect condition. It also emerged that 30 per cent order deliveries to their home at least weekly.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Magnus Renman, from sustainable packaging company DS Smith, which commissioned the study, said: “Damaged deliveries are a lose-lose for everyone involved. Shoppers get frustrated and retailers have to deal with the difficulty of processing returns. Internet sales now account for more than a quarter of total UK retail sales and as this research shows, returns come at a significant cost at a time when online shopping is crucial for retailers as we head into the busiest season.”

The study also found 52 per cent hold the retailer accountable, while 48 per cent reckon the courier is at fault should something arrive on their doorstep damaged. Half said they’d be hesitant to shop with a firm again were their item to arrive broken, while 81 per cent ensure they return their damaged or faulty product. And 48 per cent would be making contact with the courier to make their feelings known.

Limiting damages

Magnus Renman from DS Smith added: “To help, we are working with impact-testing and tracking technologies to understand what actually happens to parcels on their journey to our front doors. We recreate those conditions in the lab so we can put packaging through its paces and then do everything we can to help protect the product inside.

“Our research and development teams have found that through clever design, there are ways to not only limit damage but use less material, and do it all without plastic.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The packaging brand’s research and development team used advanced impact-testing technology to replicate the stress packaging goes through during the delivery process, testing drops, impacts, shakes crushes and shock factors.

As well as recreating the perils of the supply chain, they attached ‘accelerometers’ to packages to ascertain what levels of acceleration they are experiencing in transit.  Their research showed a typical online parcel undergoes G-forces measuring up to an astronomical 50Gs.

This is more than five times the level of G-forces that would cause an experienced astronaut to lose consciousness (at 9Gs) and 10 times more G-forces than are typically experienced on a rollercoaster (at 5Gs).

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.