by Greg Kishbaugh
The folding carton market, like so much of the general economy, has suffered through the doldrums that began with the global economic crisis in 2008, but a newly released report shines a much more positive light on the future of cartons.
The Future of Folding Cartons To 2018, released by Smithers Pira, posits that the global market for folding cartons will grow 5.1 percent annually, reaching $184 billion by 2018. For such an extremely mature market, these are most impressive figures and serve as an example that by changing to meet newly arising needs, older technologies (and markets) can remain vital for generations.
The report specifically points to three new developments that will result in added value in the folding carton market over the course of the next half decade: retail-ready packs (primarily in microflute), anti-counterfeit packaging and barrier coating technologies.
As a growing trend among retailers with an eye on bringing down costs, retail-ready packaging is sure to rise and anti-counterfeit technology is expected to nearly double in the next few years. Developments in water-based coatings, nano-materials, bio-polymers and antimicrobial compounds are leading the growth for barrier coatings.
According to the report, the surge in demand for mobile phones, tablets and other personal electronic devices will provide increased opportunities for folding cartons and microflute packs. In addition, the healthcare sector, which is said to account for almost 10 percent of folding carton demand, will seek to develop smart packs that monitor patient medication.
Unsurprisingly, growth in the folding carton markets will come about in much the same way as in other sectors, by seeking out and exploiting new opportunities. For years, consumers have complained about overpackaging. This plays right into the folding carton industry’s hands.
Likewise, if folding carton producers are able to pursue growing technologies such as Fresnel lenses, holographic images and QR codes, in addition to tapping into the thousands of new avenues available through social media, the industry could ride a wave of innovation and growth for many years to come.