Interesting things about the packaging industry, retailing dynamics, consumer trends and NOA’s insight.

How (or What) is “Uber” for you ?

Sep 21, 2017 | Corrugated Packaging, Packaging, Packaging Research and Analysis

At Packaging Innovations last week a male colleague was heard calling to another across their exhibition stand “Oy Mate, I think I may need an Uber for that” followed by laughter from both of them. No more of the conversation was heard so the reference to “Uber” remains a mystery. The original concept behind Uber is without doubt uber-cool – you call, a car shows up where you are in a few minutes and takes you where you want to go.

For some, Uber is now a metaphor for start-ups, for others the Uber brand has become a verb – shall I “Uber over” to see you ? – and still an “uber” placed before a noun in a sentence means something extremely good or successful – uber-stylish and uber-great ! What interests NOA the most about Uber is not how we use the word or its literal meaning – but what effect Uber is having on consumers and society, how far the Uber concept can go and what impact that will have on European businesses.

Take the European packaging Industry as a case in point. NOA commented on in 2015 in our Strategic European Corrugated Guide. In this guide we examined the effect on packaging of changes in consumer shopping habits due to increased Internet connectivity and more specifically we looked at consumer expectation for next day delivery from ecommerce purchases. By 2015, Uber had become a delivery provider (of pizzas and parcels) as well as a taxi service and alongside “Shutl” was hot on the tail of Amazon’s next day delivery service by going “Uber-better” and offering delivery of online shopping orders in 90 minutes or less ! Our research focussed not on the incredible logistical challenge of this offering, but on the question of “how on earth will they pre-package this stuff ?”

The word “Uber” has reportedly made it into The Oxford English dictionary with a definition of … “sort of like a taxi service … sort of”. Things have moved on for Uber since 2008 and we should be aware – and possibly wary – of how powerful the Uber-effect could be on our industry and our businesses. For research into the impact Uber is having on the European packaging market, NOA is