Thailand Folding Cartons and Corrugated Packaging Market – Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 – 2026)

The Thailand folding carton and corrugated packaging market (henceforth referred to as the market studied) was valued at USD 1405.73 million in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 2283.4 million by 2026, registering a CAGR of 4.4%, during the period of 2021 – 2026. Folding carton is one of the most used eco-friendly packaging solutions. Its ability to be produced in various sizes with a small footprint, compared to other packaging options, makes it feasible for use in different end-user industries. On the other hand, the corrugated board packaging features a versatile and cost-efficient method to protect, preserve, and transport a wide range of products due to attributes such as light weight, biodegradability, and recyclability, which has made it an integral component of the packaging industry.

– In January 2020, Thailand laid a ban on single-use plastic bags at major stores and would implement a complete ban in 2021 to reduce waste and debris in the sea. This is estimated to be a significant driver towards innovative paper-based packaging developments in the country.
– Growth in the market studied is mainly due to the continued and increasing demand for packaged food and beverages. Likewise, ThaiBev aimed to increase the proportion of recycled paper and use damaged cartons in the production of corrugated cartons.
– The growing urban lifestyle of the country’s consumers has also been driving the demand for packaged convenience food. According to the World Bank, in 2019, 51% of Thailand’s total population lived in urban areas and cities. According to the Federation of Thai Industries, the packaging and printing industries may grow by 2%-3% in 2019, driven by the demand for food and beverage.
– Additionally, there is a considerable increase in the demand for small-scale folding cartons from the beauty and personal care industry. According to the export.gov, Thailand’s beauty and personal care products market is expected to reach USD 8.0 billion in 2022.
– As most MNCs witnessed relocating supply chains because of the US-China trade war, the country expects an increase in manufacturing and packaging capabilities across electronics, clothing, food, and the personal care segment. This creates an increasing corrugated and carton packaging activity in the country.
– The outbreak of COVID-19 has postponed many financial and non-financial related activities of the corrugated packaging firms in the region. With the food and beverage sector deemed operational amidst lockdowns, allied packaging facilitators have also been operating.
– On the vendor front, Thailand’s SCG Packaging postponed its USD 1 billion initial public offerings (IPO) due to the COVID-19 outbreak, rattling global financial markets. Likewise, multiple players have been struggling to keep operations running at a full pace in the wake of increasing demand.

Key Market Trends

Food and Beverage Industry to Drive the Market Growth

– The food industry is the third-largest industry in Thailand, contributing nearly 23% to the country’s GDP. (USDA Estimates) Major food exports include canned tuna, rice, sugar, meat, and canned pineapple. According to the National Food Institute (Thailand), Thai exports grew by 7.43% in 2018, to account for USD 32.2 billion.
– In the food sector, there is a strong demand for packaged food. As the greater share of the population lives in the Bangkok’s sprawling suburbs, the demand for convenient packaged food options is growing. Moreover, rapid urbanization has increased the demand for processed foods and ready-to-eat meals in the country. Ready-to-eat meal products are among the top adopters of cartons as the secondary form of packaging from a retail perspective.
– Additionally, there is an increasing demand for folding cartons from the dairy packaging sector. Liquid cartons are the most common type of paperboard packaging used for dairy products. The milk consumption in the country is likely to increase, as consumers in the country are actively switching from soft drinks to healthy dairy alternatives.
– According to OECD-FAO, consumption of milk is estimated to reach 25 liters per head per year by 2026. This is expected to keep a constant demand for folding cartons from the country’s dairy packaging sector, as most of the consumers prefer dairy products for the daily protein requirements.
– More recently, the company (Tetra Pak) led a campaign in Bangkok in order to educate consumers on proper carton-waste separation and disposal, as well as various activities, including the teaching of how-to such as correctly folding used beverage cartons before disposing of them. This is precisely in line with COVID related disruptions being created towards waste collection and recyclability

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Rising E-commerce in Thailand is Expected to Drive the Market Growth

– The e-commerce industry has emerged as a significant player in recent years with Amazon using corrugated board boxes for the principal packaging and rely on plastic packaging for individual items. The increasing concerns of Thai people associated with packaging waste are likely to compel government to ring regulations that prompt the citizens to adopt environment-friendly options, such as folding cartons or corrugated boxes as a viable choice for packaging.
– Also, the E-commerce era is acting as a significant driver for the need to rethink packaging in the country. As per Priceza, nearly 60 million cross-border products were placed on Lazada, Shopee, and JD Central in 2018, where an average order value of THB 738 for local products was realized.
– Such changes in the form of transitioning from a traditional retail distribution due to increasing urbanization are actively contributing to the growth in demand in paper packaging, particularly corrugated packaging. This will, in turn, increase the ratio of corrugated volume per unit of a consumer product.
– As of October 2019, BG Packaging announced an investment of THB 1-2 billion in the construction of a new paper-carton manufacturing plant along with merger and acquisition across the next 3-5 years. With the expansion of its paper carton production capacity, it attributes the same to be stemming from customers’ demand, specifically from e-commerce. Across 2019, BG Packaging increasing sales attributed to packaging demand for e-commerce, food, and beverage, and electronics with paper packaging is expected to contribute THB 800 million the same year.

Competitive Landscape

The Thailand folding cartons and corrugated packaging market is competitive. However, with technological advancement and product innovation, mid-size to smaller companies increase their market presence by securing new contracts and tapping new markets. Further, several folding cartons and corrugated packaging companies in the market engage in strategic mergers and acquisitions and collaborations to enhance their operations in the country. Some of the key developments in the market are:

– In January 2020 – Oji Holdings acted upon the need to replace plastic with paper for environmental protection. The company announced that it would engage in SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) by supplying environmentally friendly products as an expansion of the market, followed by Thailand and Japan.

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