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Packaging Industry in United States - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2022 - 2027)

Packaging Industry in United States - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2022 - 2027)

  • April 2022
  • 132 pages
  • ID: 6271883
  • Format: PDF
  • Mordor Intelligence LLP


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The Packaging Industry in the United States was valued at USD 184.65 Billion in 2021, and it is expected to reach USD 218.12 Billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 2.94% during the period of 2022-2027. The United States is one of the fastest-growing packaging markets in North America. The presence of large packaging companies, such as Amcor Ltd, Mondi PLC, etc., drives investments for innovation and R&D activities in the country and provides unique solutions for many packaging challenges.

Key Highlights
The differential growth across materials and formats drives the fundamental shifts in the packaging industry. In the United States, these differentials are a by-product of the changing consumer behaviors and product innovation within the market.
Due to the changing consumer habits, the beverage industry in the United States has noticed substantial growth. According to PMMI’s 2018 Beverage Report, the North American beverage industry is expected to grow by 4.5% from 2018 to 2028. The major portion of the beverage sales in North America is achieved by sellers in the United States.
The packaging and labeling providers in the United States that cater to the beverage industry are focusing extensively on packaging innovations, as they demonstrate the visual manifestation of the products’ positioning, where words, fonts, and images reinforce the image of the brand in people’s mind. An effective package and label highlight the unique selling proposition, showcasing everything that sets the product apart.
Also, according to National Retail Federation, the retail industry’s sales reached USD 4.06 trillion in 2020. They are further expected to increase by around 3.8 to 4.4%, with e-commerce retail sales expected to grow by 10-12% in coming years. Numerous growth opportunities exist in the United States retail market for retail providers of all sizes.
The increasing portion of sales contributed by e-commerce is anticipated to positively impact the market, as many companies haven’t yet optimized packaging for e-commerce, and overpacking is common when shipping products from a distribution center to consumers.
Further, the introduction of eco-friendly packaging and flavored water with regulated ingredients has escalated the growth in carton water usage. Companies are introducing new products in the market, which is shaping the market landscape. For instance, in February 2021, Graphic Packaging International announced the launch of ProducePack, a sustainable paperboard packaging range of solutions for fresh produce.
With the surging demand for food, manufacturers are faced with a substantial opportunity to carve out a greater market share. Most food production companies are trying to engage consumers with revamped packaging better. The manufacturers are likely to lag if they do not modify their products according to the latest packaging trends, as the economy of the United States is flourishing.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a major disruption in the packaging sector of the country. The main impacts have been observed in the various end-use markets for packaging. However, the impact of the pandemic has also been observed in the nature of packaging used across applications.

Key Market Trends

Paper and Paperboard Vertical to Hold Significant Market Share

Due to supply-chain constraints, inventory of packaging materials has become increasingly limited in the region, resulting in shortages of everything from household products to electronics to food. Due to the rise in e-commerce, low containerboard and corrugated cardboard inventory have been a growing problem since the pandemic. As supply concerns mounted, merchants such as Amazon began storing cardboard in January to fulfill demand, leaving smaller firms without supplies.
According to the Producer Price Index and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the price of cardboard hit a new high in February 2021. In July 2021, International Paper, one of the country’s top suppliers of containerboard and corrugated cardboard, warned investors that the supply of cardboard boxes was "very low,"with supply chain bottlenecks continuing into the rest of the year.
E-commerce has been one of the leading drivers of corrugated boxes. The market witnessed a rapid spike in demand in March 2020, tailed off in April and May; however, it then increased in June and reached record levels again in September and October.
With the increase in demand for corrugated packaging solutions, the region has witnessed several strategic acquisitions and partnerships. For instance, in July 2021, Bio PAPPEL acquired McKINLEY Paper Company. With this acquisition, McKINLEY may achieve an efficient integration and broad geographic coverage by operating eight modern industrial paper and packaging plants in California, Washington, New Mexico, Georgia, Indiana, and Baja California, Mex. Further, it may soon operate a new packaging plant in Dallas, Texas, currently under construction.

Increased Demand For Flexible Plastic Packaging Solutions Across the End-user Industry

The flexible plastic packaging solutions demand has been experiencing a positive demand across the end-user industry sectors, such as in food, retail, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, etc., in the country. The demand has been catalyzed by the continued rise in the levels of urbanization, a large expatriate population, and changing dietary habits of the resident citizens. The increasing penetration of e-commerce and the processed and packaged food market in the country is currently exhibiting strong growth.
The attempt of the government to diversify their economic dependence on the oil and gas industry has seen them supporting the real estate developments and has resulted in the increased opening of retail markets and is expected to provide the push in the market for new opportunities for plastic packaging with new demand from such sectors.
Flexible plastic packaging is considered the right choice due to cost-effectiveness and increased shelf-life of the product, downsizing of packaging, rising demand from end-users, and improvements in global manufacturing activities. The developments in the market of healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics are expected to remain the primary drivers of the demand for plastic packaging products.
Flexible packaging plays a pivotal role in reducing beverage and product waste and allows online brands to reinvigorate their packaging to enhance the e-commerce experience. For instance, Emerald Packaging, a US-based flexible packaging converter, launched a bag for potatoes that are manufactured partly from potato starch. The film is 25% potato starch resin and 75% low-density polyethylene mixture. Emerald claims that the film is stronger than 100% low-density polyethylene (LDPE) films.
Amazon’s packaging transition is a boost for the US flexible plastics industry. The company currently controls just over 49% of the US e-commerce market and nearly 5% of the total US retail market and generates sales of over USD 250 billion in 2018. Flexible materials are extensively being used in the food and soft drinks industries in the United States, where many consumers actively seek out quick and easy solutions that align with their time constraints.

Competitive Landscape

The US packaging industry is highly competitive and consists of several major players. With the rising demand for packaging applications, along with technological advancements across the US economy, many companies are increasing their market presence by expanding their business footprint across the various end-user sectors.

September 2021 - Heinz partnered 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.
March 2021 - Ball Corporation and Damm jointly launched the first-ever Aluminum Stewardship Initiative (ASI) and Chain of Custody Standard approved beverage containers.

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