As you might have heard, Sealed Air will unveil a revamped version of Bubble Wrap, called iBubble Wrap. This new product will come in flat plastic sheets that consumers will have to inflate on their own. Besides the extra labor, all the fun is being eradicated as well—the bubbles won't pop. Interconnected columns of bubbles will make the product cost-efficient, but will remove the poppable spheres that everyone loves to burst.
The Internet was not amused.
While this sounds like incredibly dismal news for the young and young at heart, don't start hoarding just yet: iBubble will not be replacing traditional Bubble Wrap.
The new product will be sold alongside the product we all know and love and sold to online retailers who are in desperate need for the extra space.
“Regular Bubble Wrap isn’t going anywhere, and will be around long after we’re both dead,” spokesperson Ken Aurichio told BuzzFeed News.
The new flat packaging is estimated to only take up about one-fiftieth the space that the older, more fun product would have. A single truck can carry the same amount of iBubble Wrap as 47 trucks of normal Bubble Wrap. This is ideal for companies like Amazon that are always experimenting with more efficient ways to ship their product.
Despite protective packaging being a huge industry—with international sales hitting $20 billion in 2013—Sealed Air has struggled with the increased competition. The company frequently loses business to local competitors because it is too costly to ship their bulky product more than 150 miles from the factory. The most cost efficient iBubble could possibly be the answer to these woes.
While this seems like the better alternative for many companies, they still need to buy the special pump to inflate iBubble. Right now the pump is $5,500, but the company aims to get that price down to $1,000 by 2017.
This new product is mainly for retailers, so people buying Bubble Wrap in stores to move or ship personal items don't have to worry. It's already uncommon for retailers to ship their goods in Bubble Wrap, so not much is going to change for online shoppers. And even if iBubble did cannibalize Bubble Wrap, there are plenty of imitators on the market to choose from.