With Brits expected to order more than a billion presents online for the first-time ever, research has revealed the biggest cause of Christmas frustration is breakages and delays not queues and crowds.
According to a survey of shoppers, just one in six (16%) would be willing to buy again from a brand if their item was delivered damaged and only 17 per cent if their package arrived late.
More than a quarter (27%) would also look to cancel an order if they found out it was going to arrive late, while over a fifth (22%) would expect a refund.
In a sign that sustainable packaging is increasingly important to consumers, 44% want any packaging of products to be recyclable or reusable, with 42% believing packages should be the right size to fit the contents – and any empty space kept to a minimum.
Experts at packaging supplier DS Smith have even calculated that excess packaging will cause Father Christmas's sleigh to be 43,259 tonnes heavier than it needs to be, slowing Santa down by an hour and 24 minutes.
And they've released a handy nine-point guide to cutting down waste and breakages.
“Where poorly designed packaging is used it has consequences – it leads to more journeys which means it takes longer for precious presents to get from A to B," said packaging expert Robyn Smith.
"Businesses – and Santa Claus – need to carefully consider how they pack goods effectively and with sustainable packaging materials and help is at hand. Our high-performance packaging solutions can ensure the best use of fibre, reducing the space needed and the number of breakages whilst also increasing sustainability.”
Top tips for packaging your Christmas presents to reduce the chance of breakages and minimise wasted space
1. If you’re sending clothing alongside other, more breakable gifts, then use that to cushion the delicate item – socks work especially well for this. But we’d advise caution if the fragile item contains a liquid, as you risk ruining two presents if it does break.
2. For non-fragile items, try and find boxes that snuggly fit your present in. Take note of the dimensions of any gifts – either by checking when you buy online or using an app on your phone to measure.
3. If your item is more fragile then opt for a box that is a little bigger so you can create a ‘buffer’ or ‘crumple’ zone to protect your gift. Re-use newspapers and magazines to add cushioning too – lightly scrunched works most effectively!
4. It’s important to ensure the box is securely closed, but don’t go overboard on the sticky tape – the recipient won’t be able to open it and nearly two in five Brits have previously (39%) reported that they had hurt themselves trying to open a package.
5. Produce makeshift dividers using spare cardboard if you are sending lots of small delicate items such as glasses.
6. For awkwardly shaped presents, find a box that fits, and create a space buffer round the entire product which you can fill with lightly scrunched paper or shredded paper.
7. Select the ‘this is a gift’ option and only get your gift sent once, as opposed to sending the present to yourself, wrapping and then re-sending to your family. This can halve the carbon emissions associated with delivery and ease the impact on postal services.
8. If you can’t send it direct to the recipient, you can also re-use the boxes your items have been sent in, cutting down on materials used.
9. Put a label on a package to indicate if it’s heavy or fragile.