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The rise of Printed Mailing Bags, a packaging story

Mail has been around for some time. Sending items using a service provided by someone else from one place to another isn’t new; in fact, one of the oldest known surviving pieces of mail is Egyptian, dating way back to 255BC. Persia even had a postal system in Biblical times. However, postal systems like the ones we see today didn’t take shape until the advent of the railway. It didn’t take long for the first mail-order catalogue to spring up in Wales; its founder Pryce Pryce-Jones grew his small business into a worldwide mail-order business. In just 19 years, it expanded from a small rural customer base to over 100,000 customers globally. I hope he got an excellent price for that mailing list!

The mail-order concept changed the face of shopping forever and was the springboard for today’s ecommerce industry, forecast to hit $6.5 trillion by 2023. It was this mail-order business, the invention of the plastic bag back in 1965, and the subsequent growth of ecommerce and that led to the rise of Printed Mailing Bags.

It wasn’t surprising that ecommerce companies like Amazon wanted to use their packaging as an advertisement for their brand, not just to drive new customers but also to announce their dominance in the retail market. 1000’s of pieces of branded packaging flowing through the postal system is hard to ignore.

The famed ‘Jiffy Bag’ was the first mailing bag to look distinctively like those we create today, developed after the company branched out into padded shipping envelopes in the 1960s. These mailing envelopes morphed into the thinner polythene bags, so many businesses use today. It’s much cheaper to brand a simple polythene mailing bag than an air-filled padded envelope. The printed mailing bags we see today offer a lighter, more flexible solution, allowing retailers to include unbranded protective packaging that best suits their products. Clothing retailers were instrumental in driving the popularity of the polythene mailing bags of today. Many of these same retailers have led the recent charge for robust printed paper mailers as the drive for sustainability gathers momentum.

In recent years we’ve seen a mass of shoppers’ flock online, and more and more parcels fly, drive and float to our doors. British weather, yes, that pesky rain, still sees many retailers choose the poly mailer. Emblazoned with their logo and marketing messages, waterproof and strong to protect their wares, but we’re beginning to see more innovative solutions like plant-based eco mailers and printed paper that can withstand a storm or two make the list of top desirables.

It’s evident that the continued growth of ecommerce and omnichannel retailing means that the printed mailing bag is here to stay.

Posted on 13th May 2021

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