World Demand for Corrugated Boxes to Increase

April 7, 2009 - World demand for corrugated boxes is forecast to increase 3.4 percent per year to 213 billion square meters in 2013, in line with real (inflation-adjusted) gains in GDP, according to a new study.

Factors contributing to rising box demand include growth in industrial activities, particularly the manufacturing sector, which often requires corrugated packaging to protect and transport goods, notes the study World Corrugated Boxes published by The Freedonia Group.

In addition, ongoing developments in small flute and highquality graphic board will allow corrugated boxes to penetrate traditional folding carton applications, especially in the developed world. Greater interest in corrugated packaging as a point-of-sale display in retail applications will also boost demand for value-added corrugated boxes.

Gains will be limited by the mature state of the corrugated box industry in developed areas such as the US, Western Europe and Japan, where boxes are essentially commodity items used in well-established markets. Corrugated boxes also face competition from reusable plastic shipping crates and other types of plastic packaging.

Nonetheless, corrugated boxes will benefit from their environmentally friendly image, as well as certain cost advantages compared to plastics crates.

The fastest increases will occur in the world’s developing regions, although growth rates will moderate from the 2003-2008 period. The Asia/Pacific region, Eastern Europe and the Africa/Mideast region will all outpace the global average.

Some of the best gains are expected in China, which will surpass the US as the world’s largest corrugated box market by 2013; and India, which will benefit from strong growth in industrial output and consumer product markets, as well as greater investment in state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment, resulting in improved product quality. China will account for about half of the increase in demand over the forecast period. Greater urbanization and industrialization, and expanding international trade will support advances in these regions’ generally underdeveloped packaging sectors. Rising consumer income levels and expanding middle-classes will also generate robust internal demand for packaged consumer goods like processed foods, beverages and personal care items, supporting increases in corrugated box consumption.

SOURCE: The Freedonia Group

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