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Pallets: U.S. demand for pallets to reach 1.3 billion units in 2015

Freedonia Group sees turnaround in demand as manufacturing increases.
By Modern Materials Handling Staff
June 02, 2011

U.S. demand for pallets is forecast to rise 6.1 percent per year to 1.3 billion units in 2015, valued at $15 billion. The increase will be driven by a rebound in manufacturing output.

That’s the conclusion of “Pallets,” a new study from The Freedonia Group, (http://www.freedoniagroup.com) a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.

This pace will represent a dramatic turnaround from the 2005-2010 period, when demand fell to fewer than one billion pallets in response to a decline in manufacturing output between 2007 and 2009 and a partial rebound in 2010.  Through 2015, demand gains will be driven by an expected advance in manufacturing from the low 2010 base.

Some key points of the study include:

Manufacturing will continue to account for the largest share of pallet demand, totaling 75 percent of the market in 2015, according to Freedonia. 

• Demand will be supported by continued recognition of the suitability of pallets as an inexpensive way of shipping and hauling goods while avoiding product damage. 

• Providers of warehousing services will purchase new pallets and expand their pallet refurbishing operations to add to their pallet stocks and more effectively serve existing customers.

• Pallet stock growth will be driven by the increase in manufacturing activity as the U.S. economy rebounds from the 2007-2009 recession. 

• Growth in shipping activity will spur demand for pallets to transport and store goods. 

Plastic pallets will account for a larger share of the U.S. pallet stock in 2015. Plastic pallet demand is projected to advance at a double-digit pace through 2015, rising to 34.5 million units.  Demand will be driven by consumer interest in the use of plastic pallets because of their performance qualities.  They are resistant to contamination caused by bacteria and other pathogens and can be cleaned easily.  Plastic pallets are also seen as being environmentally friendly, as they can be recycled once they have reached the end of their life span.

• Still, plastic pallets will represent just 2.65 percent of the overall pallet market in 2015. 

Despite an increase in the market for plastic pallets, pallets made from wood—primarily lumber—will continue to account for nearly 95 percent of the U.S. market.  Demand will be driven by the new pallet market, as manufacturers’ shipments rebound and more pallets are needed to ship and haul products.  However, refurbished wood pallets, which accounted for 65 percent of the wood pallet market in 2010, will continue to lead the market in 2015. 


Pallet report from ProMat
Here’s a rundown of some of the latest new products and innovations unveiled by pallet makers at ProMat 2011.

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