Online sales are soaring this holiday season. Cyber Monday saw the heaviest online shopping day ever recorded, according to research firm ComScore Inc., with $1.25 billion in online sales – a 22% increase over last year’s record of $1.03 billion in online purchases. And online retailers didn’t have to wait until Cyber Monday to see a spike in sales. Online sales were up 24.3% on Black Friday and 39% on Thanksgiving Day U.S., according to IBM’s Coremetrics data unit.

As the growth of online shopping shows no sign of slowing down, the role of packaging is being put into question. Marketers need to rethink their packaging strategies as online sales now represent a distinct channel of distribution that requires its own branding solutions.

A recent U.S. study by Shikatani Lacroix ( www.sld.com) shows that packaging remains an important element during the online purchase process. The majority of respondents, at 65%, believe the primary purpose of packaging is to protect the product during shipping. And shoppers continue to rely on packaging to make the right selection: 60% of respondents use packaging to help them identify what they are buying during their online selection process.

While packaging graphics currently serve as a link of recognition between the offline and online world, with 36% of respondents primarily using packaging to identify a product they saw in a store, having a prior offline experience with a brand is becoming less relevant with the continued growth of online sales.

The study delves into the online shopping behaviors of consumers and uncovers consumer insights on the role of packaging prior, during and after online purchases. To learn more about the strategic implications of this study on the packaging industry, visit www.sldesignlounge.com/white‐papers to download the results.