Research from Smithers Pira has revealed that paper and board will have key roles in the future of packaging.
The company said overall growth in dollar value terms for packaging was depressed for the years spanning the middle of the decade due to relative strength of the dollar against other currencies across that period.
The value, however reached $851.1bn in 2017, a 2.8% growth compared to 2016 at constant prices.
Smithers Pira expects the expansion to continue across the next five years, increasing slightly to 2.9% year-on-year across this period, to reach $980.4bn in 2017.
Asia, as per Smithers Pira, is the largest market accounting for 42.1% of world packaging consumption in 2016. North America was in the second place with 24.3%, which was ahead of Western Europe which stood at 18.4%.
Other regions including Eastern Europe, South & Central America, the Middle East and Africa accounted for the remaining 15.2% of world packaging consumption.
In Asia, packaging consumption is forecast to be at the fastest rate, led by China and India. Some of main reasons attributed include the large populations, rising disposable incomes and transition from being traditional markets to purchasing of packaging consumerist goods.
Looking at material segments, board and paperboard (corrugated, folding carton stock and liquid paperboard) is the largest packaging material type that was studied by Smithers Pira. It accounted for 37.5% of world packaging consumption in 2016, followed by flexible packaging (plastic, paper and foil) with 23.3%, rigid plastic packaging with 18.2% and metal with 12.2%.
The value for packaging in e-commerce segment was valued at $28bn last year and it is forecasted to double by 2023. More than 75% of this is for corrugated formats, which could cause a surge in demand for fanfold for fit to packaging applications, new designs for returnability and light weight flutings that can minimize the size of postal shipments.
From a packaging designer’s perspective, the customer would encounter goods away from a shop, serving staff and other prompts including a point-of-sale displays and packaging would be the primary touch point for brand identity. This is generating interest in new designs that can create a new ‘unboxing’ experience.
Packaging printing is also a key medium, where many e-commerce retailers and brands are investing in high-quality graphics on the exterior and especially the interior of the package. This could in turn spur new linerboards that can carry improved imagery.
Folding cartons in global packaging is forecast to face competition in the future as new and more streamlined pack formats such as like resealable stand-up pouches – that do not require secondary cartons could be produced in large scale.
An additional competition from upright flexible packaging including shrink film for multi-packs of beverages, and corrugated boxes is also expected to increase.
Future demand could be affected by factors including falling sales of tobacco and cigarettes, and an increase in offshore production of toys and sports products that are shipped pre-packed.