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Understanding the Concept of Dunnage in eCommerce Packaging

September 22, 2020

6 min read

Statistics from StellaService show that 1 in 10 eCommerce packages arrive damaged. This shows the importance of packaging the product properly and shipping it safely. Dunnage is exactly what helps you with that.

How do you think the safety of a shipment is ensured? By using the right packaging material and placing it safely in the vehicle? Think again. 

Many factors like temperature, speed, movement, friction, etc. can lead to the damage of products stored inside the packaging material before or while it is being shipped.

This is where dunnage comes into the picture. It might not be a common term for people, but it should be a standard term for eCommerce sellers. If you are new to eCommerce and still getting acquainted with the terminology, here you go with one of the most important aspects of eCommerce packaging.  

What is Dunnage?

Dunnage refers to the safety padding material you add to your package to ensure maximum safety. It is durable and usually made out of material that provides protection and cushioning to the product. 

Dunnage is a more common term in cargo ships. They have floored dunnage that protects the products that are being shipped across a long distance. In eCommerce packaging, dunnage can be in plastic films, jute coverings, wood, air pockets, etc.

Dunnage is usually added as stuffing in between the product and the packaging material. A package is only successfully packed if it contains the right packaging material along with sufficient dunnage.

Why is Dunnage Important for eCommerce Packaging?

Moisture Absorption

The first and foremost role of dunnage in eCommerce packaging is moisture absorption. If your product can be easily ruined by moisture, you must add some material to absorb moisture or block it. Hygroscopic material that absorbs water quickly, we get damaged if not packed with proper insulation. 

Shock Resistance

A primary concern when transporting goods by road or the son bombs and shocks the product faces while en route. Thus, if you are shipping a fragile item, it can get easily damaged with even minor shocks. Dunnage must withstand such shocks and keep the product safe while en route to the delivery destination. 

Tamper-proof Packaging

Dunnage makes it easier to protect the package from damages and also reduces the stress on the packaging. Hence, when the customer receives the final product, it is appropriately packed, and there is no tamper in the packaging material. Dunnage balances the external and internal forces and absorbs any extensive shocks to keep both the packaging and the product safe


Some products require ample air circulation when being packed. Or else, they might leave out a foul odor when opened. For example, some clothing material needs to have ample air circulation within the package to maintain its fresh smell. Dunnage helps you loosely pack the shipment while also keeping it safe and maintaining air circulation.

Distribute Weight

Sometimes when the packaging boxes are more significant than the product, you need to add stuffing into the package to distribute the weight equally; otherwise, the product will keep toppling while it is being transported.

Types of Dunnage in eCommerce


Plastics are usually used in high-value shipping materials like fragile items or expensive products that require a secure shipping and packaging procedure. They are typically used to provide secondary packaging to the product so that it remains safe while in transit.

Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap is a commonly used dunnage used to pack glass and similar fragile items. The bubbles provide a questioning effect on the product and absorb any shock that it might face. Bubble wraps are reusable and should be reduced to the bubbles but completely.


Wood is used to create small barriers between different objects. If you are shipping items with more than one piece critical to the assembly, you can use wood to separate from each other. This makes the entire package sturdy and prevents it from top playing or shifting inside the box.

Foam Nuts

Foam nuts are also commonly used for dunnage materials. They are added in courier bags to make it more filling. Usually, electronics, sensitive equipment, shop pieces, etc. are generally packed with foam nuts.

Cardboard Paper

Cardboard or corrugated paper is used when heavy items are involved. It can carry around a good amount of weight and also protect against moisture. Since cardboard is made out of paper, it can also be used as a sustainable packaging option for your products.

Craft Paper

Craft paper is one of the cheapest and eco-friendly options for your business. It is usually crinkled and then stuffed in-between spaces of your package to protect against shock and effective dunnage. 

Air Pillows

Air pillows are just small plastic bags filled with air. They are used to provide a cushioning effect on the products and are used widely for shipping small items. Also, they are commonly used when space needs to be filled within a box.


Thermocol is not a commonly used dunnage as it is only suitable for shipping large items like televisions, fridges, etc. It is usually used in combination with foam sheets to provide an extra cushion between the package and the product.

Let Us Help You With the Best Packaging Material

It goes without saying that to keep your package safe during transit, pack them in good quality packaging material and sufficient dunnage. 

Shiprocket packaging provides you with the finest quality corrugated boxes and courier bags to ship your products. These packaging materials are incredibly cost-effective with several variants.

Along with the safety they provide to your packages, they are also recyclable, making them eco-friendly! 

These materials are the perfect match for your eCommerce goods as they are durable, cheap, and shipped for free to your doorstep.

Final Thoughts

Ensure that the dunnage you use is of good quality and provides the necessary safeguarding to your packages. Use the right packaging material in conjunction with the best dunnage to make sure your package arrives tamper-free at your customer’s doorstep.

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