E-commerce has grown considerably in the United States and will continue to do so in the years to come. With current market share already as high as 30% in some industries, e-commerce is expected to increase in almost every consumer market over the next three to five years, including baking and snack, according to the E-Commerce Market Assessment report, published by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies.

“More and more, across broader and broader product categories, retailers are finding that consumers are increasingly going on-line to make their purchases,” said Jorge Izquierdo, vice-president of market development, PMMI. “And that trend is only expected to increase.”

In 2014, e-commerce represented $297.9 billion in sales across 131,447 businesses, having grown at an annual rate of 10.3% since 2009. Growth is projected to continue at a rate of 5.9% until 2019. A highly competitive market, e-commerce places considerable demand on its retailers and manufacturers to produce high-quality, reasonably priced products. The items then must be delivered to the end-user via the logistics industry or postal service in excellent condition and with packaging that is representative of the manufacturer or retailer’s brand.

The key trend drivers for e-commerce are customer perception, quality, cost and personal environmental impact. These drivers are not mutually exclusive as they largely influence the degree to which the other drivers impact the key trends. The top concerns among end-users in e-commerce are durability, rightsizing, package marketing and disconnect with third-party retailers. E-commerce retailers in turn are seeking to differentiate their packaging from traditional retail packaging through sustainability, unique visual appeal, corporate social responsibility and personalization.

Food is a growing market for e-commerce with consumers ordering and having their groceries delivered right to their front door. Currently, the food market as a whole, including baking and snack, sells about 10% of its product via e-commerce. This number is expected to increase an additional 7% to 8% in the near future.

For more information or to download the full E-Commerce Market Assessment visit www.pmmi.org or contact Paula Feldman, director, business intelligence, at pfeldman@pmmi.org or (571) 612-3194.