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World demand for protective packaging to exceed $24 billion in 2016

Global study predicts rising demand in step with growth in e-commerce.
By Modern Materials Handling Staff
October 10, 2012

World demand for protective packaging is forecast to increase 6.3 percent per year to $24.5 billion in 2016, according to a new report titled World Protective Packaging, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm. Factors contributing to rising demand include an acceleration in global manufacturing output, increased consumer spending on packaged goods worldwide, and demographic trends such as increasing urban populations, as urban residents tend to consume more packaged goods than their rural counterparts. The increasing popularity of Internet shopping in both developed and developing regions will fuel demand for protective packaging for the shipping of relatively small items.

Foamed plastics will continue to account for the largest share of world protective packaging demand. Advances in this product segment will be aided by foamed plastics’ light weight and superior cushioning features. However, demand for foamed plastic protective packaging will be negatively impacted by the rising importance of sustainability, which will lead to increased consideration of alternatives with more favorable environmental profiles.

Demand for protective mailers will be fueled by the rise in online shopping, which will drive increased requirements for economical, lightweight, pre-constructed protective packaging for the shipping of a wide variety of relatively small objects. Insulated shipping containers will also be one of the fastest growing protective packaging product types, as a result of increasing cold chain requirements in the pharmaceutical and life science industries, as well as rising online sales of perishable foods. 


The world’s developing regions will see the fastest advances in protective packaging demand. Population growth, greater urbanization, industrialization trends, and increases in international trade will support gains in these regions’ generally underdeveloped packaging sectors. In particular, the Asia/Pacific region will post the fastest growth and remain the largest market due to its important manufacturing sector (by far the biggest in the world). Overall, some of the highest growth rates are expected in India, China, and Indonesia, with Brazil, Russia, Turkey, Mexico, and South Africa also expected to see healthy gains. China alone will account for 31 percent of global value gains in protective packaging demand between 2011 and 2016.

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Article Topics

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About the Author

Josh Bond, Senior Editor
Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.


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