Cushioning material has always been a good toy for children

A plastic bag of cushioning material with air in it that was in a cardboard box from Amazon.

My son Takeh found it and pulled it out of the box.

At the risk of accidentally choking himself, I watched him from a distance.

Then he stepped over the plastic bag and popped the bag! Pow! and began to rip it open. I was worried that his leg would bend awkwardly and sprain, but he seemed to get the hang of it right away.

Seeing this reminded me of the cushioning material I loved as a child, commonly known as “Puchi Puchi”. My parents gave me some and I used to play with them by squeezing all the bulges with my fingernails. Nowadays, we see less and less “Puchi Puchi” and Takeh will probably grow up without the opportunity to experience the fun of endlessly squeezing them.

As the online shopping market has become huge, stores have reduced their efforts to select and pack the most appropriate boxes for each individual package size. It has become common to pack goods in a larger box and fill the gap between the goods and the box with a large cushioning material. As a result, the use of small cushioning materials such as “puchi puchi” has decreased.

Will this trend continue in the future? I think not.

The logistics industry in Japan is chronically short of labor, and it is said that the labor shortage will further accelerate after 2024, making it an urgent issue for the logistics and distribution industry, whether BtoB or BtoC, how to improve logistics efficiency or accept a decline in service level.

In such an environment, the inefficiency of “transporting products in large boxes that are disproportionate to the size of the products” may become a problem. Recently, at least, major e-commerce sites have been using boxes and envelopes of a much wider variety of sizes than in the past to save space in shipping, but there may be more to come. On the other hand, the cushioning material of the future may take a different form.

Ultimately, cushioning may not even need to be bags; boxes may be filled with air, and air pressure may be used to secure products so that they do not move inside the box.

As I look at my own children who are younger, I find myself thinking more and more, “How will the world change when these children grow up? I find myself thinking more and more. It is because of my experience in raising children that I have been able to create a thought process that looks to the future.



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