Global growth for cartons

The global market for folding cartons is growing by 5.1% annually, and will reach $184 billion by 2018, according to a major new study by Smithers Pira. Market growth will be led by increased demand for health care products, cigarettes, dry foods and frozen/chilled foods, especially in the emerging economies.

The Future of Folding Cartons to 2018, a new report from Smithers Pira, outlines the shape of the industry globally by end-use sector, region and country, through extensive primary research. With strategic forecasts to 2018, plus details of key market drivers and opportunities, it analyses major drivers and trends shaping the industry, and provides exclusive exploration of end-use markets and current and future worldwide demand.

Three key technologies that will result in added value in the folding carton market between 2013 and 8, are retail-ready packs (mainly in microflute), anti-counterfeit systems and barrier coating technologies. Retail-ready packaging is a growing trend amongst retailers striving to reduce their costs and comes in the form of corrugated/microflute systems, rigid plastic and some rigid board products. Anti-counterfeit technology used in folding carton applications is expected to almost double with high growth expected, especially in the health care sector. Developments in water-based coatings, nano-materials, bio polymers and antimicrobial compounds are leading the growth for barrier coatings.

According to Smithers Pira, a global trend towards smaller packs will be offset by an increase in demand for single serve portion packs. Smaller packs tend to use more total packaging material than the larger packs they replace, for the same volume of packed product.

The need for continual brand differentiation in the crowded marketplace is the impetus of growing demand for innovation in printing methods, with an increase in such technologies as QR codes, holographic images, Fresnel lenses and other 3D devices. The technological developments in printed electronics are bringing the development of smart packaging closer to fruition as costs are decreasing.

Consumer electronics continue to offer great opportunities for folding cartons and microflute packs with the continued global growth in demand for mobile phones, tablets, and other personal devices.

The health care sector, accounting for nearly 10% of the folding cartons demand, will see a call for the development of smart packs able to provide a system for monitoring patient medication. The level of counterfeit goods, and the health threats these products pose, is stimulating demand for sophisticated track-and-trace systems in the form of either 1D barcodes, 2D barcodes or RFID systems.

Global demand for convenience foods and the development of niche markets such as low calorie products are growth opportunities for both the dry and frozen foods sectors. In the confectionery market, perceived over-packaging has been a focus of consumer discontent, leading to considerable innovation in the packaging of seasonal products such as Easter eggs and Christmas gift packs.

According to the report, personal care market has shown a rapid recovery from the global recession and growth is being stimulated by the use of technology in the form of social media, mobile commerce and in-store digital technologies, targeting the tech-savvy young consumer. Eco-friendly brands are gaining prominence and demand for innovating printing techniques such as Fresnel lenses is growing.

Globally, carton board production grew by 1.3% in 2012 to reach a total of 42.5 million tons, valued at $37.3 billion, with more than half of this volume located in the Asia-Pacific sector. The top five producers of carton board constituted almost 16% of the total volume in 2012, with the top ten making up over a quarter. The 20 largest producers accounted for 40% of the market. Total volume of converted folding carton grew by over 1% to reach 47.4 million tons in 2012, with 55% of this emanating in the Asia-Pacific sector. The five largest carton board converters make up almost 7% of this somewhat fragmented market, while the ten largest converters accounted for more than 9% of the volume in 2012.

The Future of Folding Cartons to 2018 is essential reading for anyone working in packaging industry. It is available from Smithers Pira for £3950 /$6300.

For more information, please contact: Heather Adams (Americas) T: +1 207 781 9632 or Bill Allen (EU + Asia) T: +44 (0) 1372 802086

Smithers Pira is the worldwide authority on packaging, paper and print industry supply chains. Established in 1930, Smithers Pira provides strategic and technical consulting, testing, intelligence and events to help clients gain market insights, identify opportunities, evaluate product performance and manage compliance.

Contributed by

Adam Page
Business Manager
Reports and Consultancy
Cleeve Road
KT22 7RU
Tel: +44 (0) 1372 802 113