June 24, 2010
by Canadian Packaging Staff
In the newly released World Protective Packaging report issued by Cleveland, OH-based industry marketing research firm, The Freedonia Group, Inc., it is forecast that world demand for protective packaging will increase by 7.8 per cent a year to US$22.2-billion 2014, a substantial increase in pace of the 2004-09 period.
According to the report, the advances will be stimulated by an upswing in manufacturing activity and the continued proliferation of Internet shopping in both developed and developing regions which will necessitate heightened requirements for cost-effective packaging used in the protection of goods from shock, vibration, abrasion and other damaging effects of shipping and handling.
Value gains will also be boosted by the growing presence of environmentally friendly products — such as those made from recycled or biodegradable materials — which tend to be more costly than their conventional counterparts. However, such gains will stem from a low base.
In addition, the importance of price in the purchasing decisions of most packaging users will moderate demand for green products to some extent.
In the World Protective Packaging study, available for purchase from Freedonia for US$5,800, it is predicted that foamed plastic protective packaging will remain the largest product type by a wide margin.
However, the growing emphasis on packaging sustainability — especially in developed countries with more established environmental regulations — will constrain opportunities for conventional foamed plastic protective packaging to some extent. Protective mailers and other protective packaging products such as air pillows and bubble packaging will continue to experience the fastest gains. More moderate gains are anticipated for paperboard protectors. Nonetheless, opportunities will exist for paperboard packaging products such as kraft honeycombs, which offer excellent strength-to-weight ratios and ease of recycling.
While the U.S. is by far the world’s largest user of protective packaging, the most rapid increases will occur in developing regions such as the Asia/Pacific region, Central and South America, and the Africa/Mideast region all of which are expected to outpace the global average.
Population growth, greater urbanization, industrialization trends and increases in international trade activity will support advances in these regions’ generally underdeveloped packaging sectors. Some of the best growth opportunities will occur in Asia, which is expected to see double-digit annual growth through the forecast period. In particular, China alone is expected to account for one-quarter of global value gains in protective packaging demand between 2009 and 2014.