Retail Ready Packaging Market – Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 – 2026)

The corrugated board packaging market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.1 % during the forecast period of 2021 to 2026. From the past few years, delivery boxes have been witnessing a significant surge in front of people’s doorsteps. In apartment buildings across the United States, Faster delivery, more relaxed return policies, and free shipping has fueled growth in the retail e-commerce space. In 2019, Amazon announced that they are expanding their one-day delivery service to over 10 million products. E-commerce sales are projected to reach a value of around USD 4.9 trillion worldwide by 2021, which can positively impact the market.

– The corrugated box is an effective medium for transporting things because it’s durable and sturdy. From a damage standpoint, the user is going significantly to reduce the risk of them getting damaged in the process of the supply chain. A corrugated box is a brown paper box that is estimated to ship roughly 95 percent of all products in the United States. The corrugated boxes are probably the single best mousetrap to get goods from one point to another as its recyclable and returnable reusable.
– In 2018, using computational engineering Amazon engineering team began to test the stress and strains and vibration effects of packages as the moving trucks across the country. They have optimized the weight of the corrugate box and reduced the overall weight of the boxes by about 9 percent. And even reduced the size of our box meaning-making them fit better, and the customers see in some cases much of an 18 to 20 percent reduction in the weight of the recycled corrugate waste that they would have seen coming into their home.
– In May 2019, Mondi Group invested EUR 30 million in one of its most innovative corrugated packaging plants, which would enable the company to broaden its product portfolio to service further export areas, enhance product quality, and develop innovation. The investment will increase the plant’s production capacity per year by a certain double-digit percentage. Mondi corrugated boxes can transport up to 20 car bonnets at a time and handle up to 1000kg weight when shipping engines or gear units.
– According to the 2019 ‘State of Food and Agriculture’ report from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), approximately 14% of the world’s food is lost between harvest and retail sales. Inadequate storage and transportation are among the leading causes. Also,to tackle the global problem of food waste, appropriate packaging for fruit and vegetables is essential, where corrugated board packaging could extensively be used to protect the fresh produce.
– The corrugated board packaging has benefitted mainly from its biodegradable properties. Vendors who have shifted to other packaging solutions have faced a lot of backlash from the consumers. In 2019, Amazon faced severe backlash from its consumers, when they moved from corrugated boards to bubble wraps.
– The survey conducted by GreenBlue in the United States found that 65% of its respondents were extremely concerned about plastic packaging. While in Spain, the Spanish Association of Corrugated Cardboard Packaging Manufacturers (AFCO) concluded that cardboard is the highest rated packaging material by Spanish consumers, with the most commonly used being cardboard, plastic, and wood. The inference from the study shows that 75.2% of Spanish consumers prefer to purchase products in cardboard packaging when compared to only 11% who choose plastic.
– India has over 15 lakh modern retail stores that generate INR 4.74 lakh crore worth business and approximately 60 lakh people are employed in the retail sector, which has been severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a Retailers Association of India report, by the end of February 2020, the business had already dropped 20-25 percent, which will surely hit the corrugated board packaging market as they are used to ship significant products in the retail stores. However, the increased usage of e-commerce to buy the essentials, especially in developing countries such as India, is expected to impact the market positively.

Key Market Trends

Processed Food Segment Expected to Occupy Significant Market Share

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– The demand for convenience foods is expected to rise due to the busy lifestyle of people. Hence, processed food, which gets cooked in a short while tends to attract consumers. The increasing population also expected to drive the demand for processed food, which is convenient as well as healthy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of employed women in the United States alone has grown from 53.6 million in 1990 to 75.9 million in 2018. These factors are expected to increase the need to provide high-quality, packaged, and processed foods to customers.
– As corrugated board packaging keeps moisture away from products and withstands long shipping times, it is increasingly being adopted by the companies to offer better outcomes to customers, especially as a means to secondary or tertiary packaging. Processed foods, such as bread, meat products, and other perishable items, need these packaging materials to be used for just one time, thereby driving the demand.
– Furthermore, innovations in the domain are expanding the scope of the applications for corrugated cardboard packaging. The companies, such as THIMM Group which is a solutions provider for the packaging and distribution of goods, developed “COOLandFREEZE,” a box that is made up of corrugated cardboard for temperature-controlled shipping that enables the joint transport of non-refrigerated, frozen and chilled products, within one package.
– This innovative packaging ensures effective insulation and constant refrigeration of processed foods over at least 36 hours. As the corrugated cardboard packaging is posing as a more sustainable alternative to polystyrene or plastic shipping solutions, the demand for this market is expected to rise rapidly over the forecast period.

North America Expected to Hold Significant Share

– The growing awareness among consumers regarding the usage of environment-friendly products is expected to drive the demand for the corrugated board packaging market in North America, over the forecast period. Government initiatives for stimulating eco-friendly packaging materials, coupled with the efforts from CPA (The Corrugated Packaging Alliance), a corrugated industry initiative, with an aim to encourage corrugated packaging are providing an added impetus to the growth of this market.
– Moreover, there has not been much consumer or regulatory pressure in the United States earlier for cardboard recycling, due to the relatively low price of pulp and a historical record of recycled boxes not being strong enough to survive the journey intact. However, due to the rise of e-commerce, there has been an increased demand for cardboard, which, in turn, is creating a need for corrugated boxes.
– Many major cities, like California, New York, Washington, Maine, and Massachusetts, have now banned the use of plastics containers and bags and other single-use non-recyclable products that are harmful to the environment, in turn, boosting the demand for corrugated board packaging.
– International Paper which is the largest manufacturer of containerboard in the United States. The United States production capacity is over 13 million tons annually, and the products include liner board, medium, whitetop, recycled linerboard, recycled medium, and saturating kraft. About 80% of the production is converted into corrugated boxes and another packaging by the company’s 175 North American container plants. In the year 2019, the company recorded a sales volume of 10,545 thousand short tons for corrugated packaging.

Competitive Landscape

The market for corrugated board packaging is quite fragmented, with many players in the market providing corrugated board packaging solutions. Companies are constantly innovating to promote sustainable packaging and are providing environment-friendly packaging products. To leverage the opportunities, companies are releasing corrugated box designs for various end-user industries. The market is also witnessing multiple partnerships and acquisitions every year by the companies to strengthen their portfolio in the corrugated segment.

– February 2020 – Mondi Group partnered with Cartro, Mexican corrugated packaging company, to deliver sustainable packaging solutions for fresh produce. Mondi’s portfolio of paper grades and ProVantage Kraftliner Aqua, meet these requirements, and together, the two companies have developed a completely new corrugated box to serve the purpose.
– March 2020 – International Paper has entered into an agreement to sell its Brazilian corrugated packaging business to Klabin S.A. for Brazilian Real 330 million, with 280 million to be paid at closing and 50 million one year thereafter where the business includes three containerboard mills and four box plants.

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