World demand for corrugated boxes is expected to increase 3.7% per year through 2019, approaching 260 billion square meters.
This is according to World Corrugated Boxes, a new study from The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based industry research firm.
In developed countries, the report indicates box demand tends to track overall economic growth and industrial production trends and, as a result, will continue to be relatively slow growing. In developing economies, especially those in Asia and the Africa/Mideast region, growth will be more robust as manufacturers in these areas use corrugated boxes more intensively for product packaging and transportation, in part because boxes are still gaining market share from wood crates and other traditional containers.
“In nearly all regions, strong growth in e-commerce will drive corrugated box usage, as will the growing popularity of retail-ready packaging,” said analyst Mike Richardson. Retail-ready packaging has become increasingly popular in more affluent countries, he said, because of the time and labor cost savings it offers. Corrugated boxes will continue to benefit from their sustainability, good environmental image, and low cost compared to competitive products. In addition, suppliers continue to upgrade their boxes in terms of durability and further enhance their aesthetics through the use of digital printing.
The Asia/Pacific region accounted for half of global corrugated box demand in 2014, with China alone representing almost 30%. Growth in the Chinese market is expected to slow going forward as growth in manufacturing activity moderates. Despite this deceleration, China will still post one of the fastest growth rates for box demand worldwide. Other countries in Asia expected to see strong gains include India, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The Africa/Mideast region will offer the fastest growth among the six world regions, but will continue to account for less than five percent of global corrugated box demand. While there are a few appreciable box markets in the region, such as South Africa and Turkey, most countries, including the wealthier nations such as Israel and some of the Gulf states, do not yet have manufacturing sectors large enough to support substantial corrugated box sales.