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Blog | 06/16/2021 08:44:52 | 3 min Read time

Pandemic brought on a lasting change in e-commerce and logistics labeling

Jeff Buchanan

Director, Paper Laminates, Americas, UPM Raflatac

In March 2020, when the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic started to become clear, people went away from the normal life of working, eating, and playing outside the home. With this shift, people stopped shopping in person and moved to online shopping to fulfill their needs and wants.

As a result, we saw an immediate spike in package delivery and related logistics labeling. In their Q2 2020 Report, FedEx reported 100 million e-commerce packages would be shipped per day by 2023, reaching this level three years faster than expected. In the same period, UPS commented that while B2B shipments were down by 8%, B2C shipments were up 33%. Finally, Amazon announced they would be increasing their fulfillment center square footage by 50% in 2020!

There are many other examples of just how massive the shift in e-commerce and the resulting logistics impacts were throughout the globe.


This surge in March of 2020 was on top of a market growing faster than the economy in general. The impact in the entire packaging supply chain was felt immediately and continues to be felt today. Packaging boxes, label stock, labor, and truck logistics continue to be pushed to breaking point globally.

Thermal labels, most often used for logistics labeling, were certainly included in the supply chain stresses, but our supply chain has held up really well globally and kept up with the surge in growth. We appreciate our partners and how hard our teams worked to keep up with the market needs.

Sustainable solutions for logistics labeling

Through the pandemic surge, we kept our focus on sustainability. We continued our product development as best we could, given we were working from home. We are excited about the advances made in sustainable labeling, particularly in products for e-commerce.

As part of UPM Raflatac RAFNXT+ label material offering that has been verified to reduce carbon footprint, we launched several products focused on e-commerce labeling needs. We are already seeing the acceptance of these products from key logistics companies and have additional products coming in the near future to further advance sustainability in logistics labeling.


While people are now starting to go back to work and travel, many of the shifts started or accelerated during the pandemic are expected to stay. People will go back to shopping in stores and eating in restaurants, but we don’t see packaging volumes ever returning to pre-pandemic levels.

The packaging solutions including label materials are not only securing your packaging’s performance and bringing better functionality to your supply chain, but they also help you to reduce the impact your package has on the environment. In the world of logistics and e-commerce taking a sustainability step forward is becoming more and more relevant to the consumers and the brand owners.

Read more about our logistics and e-commerce labels 

Download our guide to sustainable labeling 





Jeff Buchanan

Jeff Buchanan

Director, Paper Laminates, Americas, UPM Raflatac | “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.” - Ronald Reagan