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Corrugated Board Packaging Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2022 - 2027)

Corrugated Board Packaging Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2022 - 2027)

  • March 2022
  • 209 pages
  • ID: 6190203
  • Format: PDF
  • Mordor Intelligence LLP


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The global corrugated board packaging market (hereafter referred to as the market studied) was valued at USD 172.61 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach USD 212.32 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 3.66% from 2022 to 2027 (henceforth, referred to as the forecast period).

Key Highlights
Corrugated board packaging is a versatile and cost-efficient method to protect, preserve, and transport a wide range of products. The corrugated board’s attributes, such as light weightiness, biodegradability, and recyclability, have made it an integral component in the packaging industry.
The e-commerce industry emerged as a significant player in recent years. The prominent e-commerce companies, such as Amazon, have been using corrugated board boxes for the principal packaging, and they rely on plastic packaging for individual items. According to the Shopify report, by 2021, global e-commerce was projected to be worth USD 4.97 trillion, without considering COVID-19 impact on the market, almost a 400% increase in seven years, with North America contributing USD 552.6 billion, which is next to Asia (USD 831.7 billion in total e-commerce sales), with China as the largest (and quickest growing) single market.
The corrugated board is highly versatile. Thus, they can take various forms other than the box, and due to sustainability issues, they are slowly replacing flexible plastic bags. Moreover, the corrugated boxes act as a perfect base to hold several printing techniques. Due to this, companies tend to prefer corrugated packaging as a marketing tool. They act as a mobile billboard, where the companies do not have to spend additionally on marketing.
The demand for convenience foods is on the rise due to the busy lifestyle of people. As corrugated board packaging keeps moisture away from the products and withstands long shipping times, it is increasingly being adopted by companies for offering better outcomes to customers, especially as means to secondary or tertiary packaging. Processed foods, such as bread, meat products, and other perishable items need these packaging materials to be used just once, thereby driving the demand.
Moreover, the corrugated board packaging has been benefitted mainly from its biodegradable properties. Vendors who have shifted to other packaging solutions have faced a major backlash from consumers. In the year 2019, Amazon faced severe backlash from its consumers when they moved from corrugated boards to bubble wraps. The survey conducted by GreenBlue in the United States country found that 65% of its respondents were extremely concerned about plastic packaging.
However, since the major raw material for corrugated board packaging is trees, environmental concerns, coupled with the Save the Forest movements, may impact the market. Additionally, paperboard waste is also piling up because the rate of recycling is low compared to the supply and demand. The Fiber Box Association, for instance, contends that while 90% of corrugated packaging gets recycled, the remaining 10% still adds up to the environmental waste, which may severely hinder the global market landscape.
The growth in food packaging and ever-increasing demand for corrugated packages in growing e-commerce shipments are some of the primary drivers of the studied market resulting from the Covid-19 outbreak. In e-commerce portals, demand has sharply increased for packaging for groceries, healthcare products, and e-commerce shipments. At the same time, the demand for luxury, industrial, and some B2B-transport packaging has declined.
For instance, India has over 15 lakh modern retail stores that generate INR 4.74 lakh crore worth of business, and approximately 60 lakh people are employed in the retail sector, which the COVID-19 pandemic has severely hit. According to a Retailers Association of India report, by the end of February 2020, the business had already dropped 20-25 percent, which will surely hit the corrugated board packaging market as they are used to ship significant products in the retail stores. However, the increased usage of e-commerce to buy the essentials, especially in developing countries such as India, is expected to impact the market positively.

Key Market Trends

Processed Food Segment Expected to Occupy Significant Market Share

The demand for convenience foods is on the rise due to the busy lifestyle of people. Hence, processed food, which gets cooked in a short while, attracts many consumers. The increasing population also drives the demand for processed food, which is convenient as well as healthy.
As corrugated board packaging keeps moisture away from products and withstand long shipping times, companies are increasingly being adopted to offer better customer outcomes, especially secondary or tertiary packaging. Processed foods, such as bread, meat products, and other perishable items need these packaging materials to be used just once, thereby driving the demand.
Paperboard boxes are frequently manufactured entirely of paperboard. However, they occasionally include different material combinations, such as clear or colorful film windows, which allow customers to see the food within the box.
This rapid wave of popular interest has driven the surge in ecological packaging options. According to Food Dive, 67% of customers throughout the world believe it is critical that the items they buy come in recyclable packaging, with 54% indicating it is a factor they consider when purchasing. These sentiments aren’t going away, with a whopping 83% of younger buyers prepared to spend more for products that are packed in a sustainable manner.
For many different food goods, paper and cardboard are becoming viable alternatives to plastic packaging. Paper packaging, for example, may be created more simply from recycled materials and recycled or composted.

China is Expected to Hold Significant Share in Asia Pacific

The Chinese corrugated board packaging sector is heavily influenced by the rising per capita income, changing social atmosphere, and demographics. As a result of this shift, new packaging materials, processes, and forms are required. Over the projection period, the rise of e-commerce behemoths like Alibaba is expected to fuel the corrugated packaging market. For example, Chinese shoppers received approximately 1.9 billion shipments during Alibaba’s Double 11 shopping event, which lasted ten days. In addition, according to the e-commerce vendors like Alibaba and Rival JD.com, Chinese shoppers spend USD 139 billion during Single’s day fest. This raises the inventory and storage of various goods and drives demand for corrugated packaging.
The packaging industry is on the lookout for new food, and beverage packaging materials as health consciousness trends grow. These materials are believed to provide antibacterial qualities and mechanical robustness, allowing the product to stay fresh for longer. This is predicted to increase packaged food consumption and the use of packaging materials in the country.
China is bound by its limited and degraded agricultural resources, according to Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, which has raised worries about the country’s ability to fulfill the rising demand for food supply from domestic production. As a result, the government must seek alternatives, such as importing food items, which would necessitate sustainable packaging of the packed food to preserve the product from harm and degradation due to climatic changes. As a result, the corrugated packaging sector in the region would benefit.
The growing urban population, developing e-commerce package industry, dropping pulp prices, and improving population awareness about environmentally friendly packaging are expected to propel China’s paper packaging market. Increased containerboard capacity and technological breakthroughs are among the industry’s key trends and developments. However, some obstacles, such as tight rules and product quality, can stifle market expansions.
Further, factors that are contributing to the acceleration of the corrugated packaging market in the country are the growing environmental awareness by urban populations, proliferation in demand for sustainable packaging, increasing demand for convenient packaging, growth in e-commerce activity, and rising demand for electronic goods and home and personal care products.

Competitive Landscape

The market for corrugated board packaging is quite fragmented, with many players in the market providing corrugated board packaging solutions. Companies are constantly innovating to promote sustainable packaging and are providing environment-friendly packaging products. Companies are releasing corrugated box designs for various end-user industries to leverage the opportunities. The market is also witnessing multiple partnerships and acquisitions every year by the companies to strengthen their portfolio in the corrugated segment.

September 2021 - Heinz Partners with WestRock to replace shrink-wrapped multipacks of Heinz beanz, Heinz soups, and Heinz pasta varieties on supermarket shelves with recyclable paperboard developed by WestRock. The Heinz Eco-Friendly Sleeve is recyclable and comes from sustainably managed forests. The innovative wrap design uses no glue and 50% less material than a fully enclosed wraparound box and 10% less than a traditional paperboard sleeve design.
August 2021 - Mondi group launched seven new sustainable corrugated packaging solutions for growing online grocery delivery services across Central Europe. Grocery retailers can deliver a variety of goods, from perishable food to wine bottles, in these fit-for-purpose packaging. All boxes in the eGrocery portfolio are fully recyclable.

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