In a retail environment that increasingly requires packages to be de facto salespeople, explaining everything about the product inside, it can often seem as if we have forgotten the original intention and purpose of packaging, that of protection. World demand for protective packaging is projected to increase 6.1 percent annually to nearly $27 billion in 2018, according to a study from The Freedonia Group.
This growth represents a significant improvement over statistics from the period between 2008 and 2013, when demand slacked off in many of the world’s largest markets, including the United States, Japan and Western Europe. Manufacturing has surged in all of these areas, however, and this new activity is expected to boost demand for protective packaging.
Another key driver of the market’s expansion is the continued growth in Internet retailing. Because the Asia-Pacific region still possesses several large developing economies, it is expected to grow at a faster clip than other regions around the globe.
“China will remain the largest market in the region and post rapid advances even as its economic growth begins to decelerate from the remarkable pace of the past few decades,” according to analyst Mike Richardson.
The Africa/Mideast region and Eastern Europe will also experience above average growth, though both will remain fairly small regional markets. Advances are expected to be below the global average in North America and Western Europe.
Environmentally friendly protective packaging will be at the forefront of growth opportunities, particularly in developed countries, as will the explosive expansion of Internet-based shopping, which continues to grow at a pace that outstrips retail activity.
According to Freedonia, the e-commerce has created immense opportunities for manufacturers of protective packaging materials. Without question, online retail is a relatively small minority compared to brick and mortar shopping, but its share is expanding more rapidly as retailers expand their e-commerce presence, Internet accessibility continues to increase, and ownership of smartphones and other mobile devices grows.