There’s a new holiday hue this season as Black Friday becomes brown, thanks to shoppers opting for the safety and convenience of online shopping and delivery via cardboard boxes, versus braving traffic, crowded malls and shopping centers.

DS Smith, a packaging leader that provides sustainable corrugated packaging for many of the brands and products Americans will receive as gifts next month, says it has never seen a higher demand for its e-commerce-ready boxes.

In the runup to Black Friday, DS Smith has tallied a 31% increase in e-commerce orders for boxes across many industries, including pharmaceutical, pet care, cosmetics and fashion, in comparing the last four months through October and that same period last year.

That spike is driven in part by digital adoption having become a holiday habit. In a recent national survey, consumers say they plan to spend 62% (an average of $924 per household) of their holiday budget online and 33% (an average of $440) in stores.


This shift for retailers will be especially important on Black Friday this year, as a third of consumers plan to shop on that special retail day and expect to spend an average of $430 per household.

“As consumer shopping habits have evolved over the past 18 months, we’ve helped our customers reevaluate their packaging options and applied our Circular Design Principles to meet the sustainable packaging demands created by a booming e-commerce landscape,” said Mark Ushpol, managing director of North America Packaging at DS Smith.

“Never has packaging been more important to our customers than this holiday season when they’re expecting a such a high volume of e-commerce orders,” he said.

DS Smith said the increase in orders for sustainable packaging over the last several months stems in part from customer commitments to reduce their environmental impacts and the rising consumer demand for 100% recyclable packaging. DS Smith offers fiber-based, 100% recyclable, plastic-free products, and the company’s innovative packaging designs provide businesses and brands with environmentally friendly shipping solutions that create impactful unboxing experiences.

Brands looking to create circular packaging can leverage DS Smith’s Circular Design Metrics - an industry first and embedded across all its packaging manufacturing sites – to measure and quantify the sustainability performance of each of its packaging designs across eight key indicators: carbon footprint, design for reuse, supply chain optimization, recyclability, planet safety, material utilization, renewable source and recycled content.