US demand to reach $6.4 billion in 2018
Protective packaging demand is expected to reach $6.4 billion in 2018, an improvement from the performance of the recession-impacted 2008-2013 period. Gains will be based on a continued robust outlook for Internet shopping, along with a continuing recovery in the manufacturing sector. In addition, an expected return of some outsourced manufacturing to the US will provide opportunities for protective packaging. These factors will necessitate heightened requirements for cost-effective packaging used to ship goods and to provide protection from shock, vibration, abrasion, temperature abuse, and other damaging effects of shipping and handling.
Insulated shipping containers, air pillows among best opportunities
Insulated shipping containers, air pillows, and molded pulp packaging will exhibit above average gains through 2018. Advances for insulated shipping containers will be driven by expanding specialized handling requirements for temperaturesensitive pharmaceuticals, a growing regulatory focus on compliance with storage temperature limit requirements, and increased online sales of perishable foods. Many newer drugs are temperature- sensitive and temperature control throughout the supply chain is critical to their safety and efficacy. As a result, insulated shipping containers will continue to have a major role in reducing losses of high-value drugs due to spoilage caused by temperature abuse.
Solid gains for air pillows will be based on continued rapid growth for Internet shopping, advantages of cost-effectiveness, reducing material use, and consumer preference for the product over other materials such as loose-fill. Prospects for molded pulp packaging will be boosted by advantages including environmental friendliness, ease of disposal, and more stable pricing than petroleum-based plastics.
Molded foams to lose share to nonplastic alternatives
Growth for molded foam protective packaging and protective mailers will be similar to the overall protective packaging average. Advances for molded foams will benefit from a recovery in durable goods manufacturing along with advantages of light weight and excellent cushioning capabilities compared to paperboard and other materials. On the other hand, molded foams will face growing competition from nonplastic alternatives that have comparable performance properties and environmental advantages such as compostability. Such alternatives are also subject to less pricing volatility than are petroleum-based resins. Opportunities for protective mailers will be based on continued requirements for economical, lightweight, pre-constructed protective packaging for the shipping of a wide variety of relatively small objects.
More moderate gains are anticipated for paperboard protectors, paper fill, dunnage bags, and loose-fill, the result of mature applications and/or competition from faster growing product types. Nonetheless, prospects for paperboard protectors, paper fill, and biodegradable loose-fill will be helped by growing interest in environmentally friendly packaging. In addition, upward trends in consumer spending and construction expenditures will fuel healthy growth for warehouse clubs and home center stores, which will bode well for edge protection products, as these items are utilized in these retail channels to unitize and stack pallets.
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