U.S. Demand for Corrugated & Paperboard Boxes to Reach $36.4 Billion in 2014

March 18, 2010 - Demand for corrugated and paperboard boxes is projected to increase 2.4 percent annually through 2014 to $36.4 billion, with gains driven by an expansion in manufacturing output after the real declines registered during the 2004-2009 period, according to a new study by The Freedonia Group.

In particular, an acceleration in shipments of nondurable goods such as food and beverages will support demand for related boxes, the study noted.

The study, Corrugated & Paperboard Boxes, shows sales of corrugated and solid fiber boxes accounted for more than 70 percent of demand in 2009. Advances will be aided by their well-entrenched position as the shipping container of choice in nearly all manufacturing sectors. Demand will also benefit from the favorable environmental profile of corrugated boxes, which will become increasingly important as producers continue to seek ways to adopt sustainable packaging practices. Moreover, value gains will be bolstered by heightened demand for more costly linerboard grades that can support high-quality printing and graphics.

Demand for folding paperboard boxes will rise 1.8 percent per annum through 2014 — slower than the corrugated box pace as folding cartons face stiff competition from alternative packaging (e.g., pouches, blister packs and clamshells) in many markets. Source reduction efforts will also restrain demand. However, gains will be supported by advances in printing and graphics capabilities and a more favorable environmental profile than plastic packaging. Set-up box demand will be supported by their widespread use in high-end confectionery, silverware and jewelry applications.

Food and beverages will remain the largest box market, accounting for 45 percent of demand in 2014. Good prospects for boxes are expected in markets such as frozen foods, dairy products, and meat, poultry and seafood products. Other nondurable goods markets offering favorable opportunities for boxes include cosmetics and toiletries, and rubber and plastic products. In the durable goods sector, box demand will post healthy gains in the machinery and equipment, motor vehicle parts, and instruments markets as both industrial machinery and automotive industries recover from sharp declines in the 2004-2009 period.

In non-manufacturing markets such as retail shipping and carry-out foodservice, box demand will be supported by consumer preferences for online shopping and food prepared or eaten away from home.

The Freedonia Group, Inc. is a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.

SOURCE: The Freedonia Group

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