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United States Corrugated Packaging Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2023-2028)

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  • 99 Pages
  • April 2023
  • Region: United States
  • Mordor Intelligence
  • ID: 5764854
The US corrugated packaging market is expected to register a CAGR of 3.4% over the forecast period. Compared to plastic packaging, corrugated boards are highly recyclable as they comprise pulp and paper. The fluting medium of the corrugated board acts as a shock absorber, protecting the packaged goods from external impact. The varying layers and thicknesses of the flutes offer benefits, including cushioning to protect packed items, and these containers can withstand high pressure.

Key Highlights

  • In recent years, e-commerce has become a prominent player in corrugated packaging. The major e-commerce player, such as Amazon, rely on plastic packaging for individual goods while employing corrugated board boxes for the bulk of the packaging. The market is anticipated to grow due to several e-commerce companies focusing on substituting corrugated boxes and paper bags instead of single-use plastics.
  • Also, due to the busy lifestyles of people, there is an increase in the demand for convenience foods. Corrugated board packaging protects items from moisture and withstands long transportation durations. Thus, companies use it more frequently to provide better outcomes to clients, particularly as a form of secondary or tertiary packaging. The demand is fueled by processed foods, such as bread, meat products, and other perishable goods, which require these packaging materials for single uses.
  • Additionally, various partnerships, collaboration, and expansion activities by players in the country to enhance their presence and position in the market are anticipated to fuel the growth of the market. For instance, in December 2021, International Paper announced that it would build a corrugated packaging plant in Atglen, Pennsylvania, expanding its regional footprint. The facility will allow International Paper to grow its industrial packaging segment in the northeastern United States. The construction was set to begin in the first quarter of 2022, and the company expects the plant to be completely operational in the first quarter of 2023.
  • However, Strict forest laws against deforestation are restraining the market's growth due to the low availability of cellulose fibers. Also, according to Global Forest Watch (GFW), Tree cover loss has increased in the region from 1,966.71 thousand hectares in 2020 to 2,044 thousand hectares in 2021.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak has disrupted the supply of raw materials in manufacturing corrugated boxes across various countries, affecting prices. A rise in the paper price due to short supply and restriction in imports is increasing the cost of corrugated boxes and packaging materials, raising concerns among industrialists. Further, the Russia-Ukraine war has an impact on the overall packaging ecosystem.

US Corrugated Packaging Market Trends

Strong Demand from the E-commerce Sector

  • The demand for corrugated boxes is expected to increase with growing e-commerce packaging due to the high-quality graphics capabilities and strength of white-top and other higher-value paperboard grades. They are available in standard boxes and can be customized as well. The customization is not limited to the size but includes flaps and printing. The corrugated box supports inkjet and laser printing, which has widely gained popularity in the e-commerce and subscription e-commerce sectors.
  • The rapid expansion of e-commerce has raised environmental concerns regarding transaction volume and value due to the potential for packaging waste it may produce. After buyers get the goods from single-use shipping packaging, stacks of cardboard, plastics, and seal tapes are frequently left behind. Reusable shipping packaging for e-commerce products was created as a creative response to overcome this issue. For instance, according to the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), old corrugated containers (OCC) are commonly known as cardboard and are one of the most recycled packaging materials in the United States. The recycling rate of OCC in the United States was 91.4 % in 2021, an increase from 88.8% in 2017.
  • COVID-19 increased demand for packing materials for online sales, which fueled development in the corrugated paperboard packaging sector. The most recent Amazon Prime Day served as a reminder of the value of online retail sales to the modern economy. The shipping boxes used by Amazon and other retailers represent e-commerce. They are also one of the main drivers of the increase in the demand for corrugated packaging in the United States.
  • Players are also focused on increasing innovation and a new facility in corrugated packaging, which is expected to support the market's growth. In February 2022, WestRock Company announced its plans to construct a new corrugated box facility in Longview, Washington, to address the rising demand from its local clients in the Pacific Northwest. The company's Pacific Northwest corrugated packaging business is still doing well and has solid ties with clients in promising growth regions.

Beverage Segment Expected to Hold Significant Market Share

  • Corrugated packaging is simple to recycle, and the pulp and paper industry is already skilled at turning it into new generations of containerboard. It is gaining traction in packaging as sustainability becomes a critical problem across the value chain. Due to these qualities, corrugated protective forms are gaining popularity among beverage manufacturers over other polymer-based alternatives, such as expanded polystyrene (EPS) foams.
  • Also, companies in the region are focusing on reducing plastic use as far as possible to reduce the ill effect of plastic on the environment. For instance, in August 2022, Graphic Packaging International installed a KeelClip 1600 multi-packing machine at Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages’ Elmsford, NewYork, production facility.KeelClip also offers protective can tops and features such as finger holes and easy-remove cans for ergonomic carrying. Graphic packaging estimates the technology saved over 1.3 million kilograms of plastic in 2021 and was used with over 550 million packs worldwide.
  • The corrugated packaging supplied in this market sector comes in various thicknesses and sizes depending on the amount of protection needed. The end users may obtain the appropriate strength-to-weight ratio solutions to transport, handle, and store beverage items safely over long distances.
  • Corrugated board packaging for beverages serves different purposes. Sometimes the packaging is used to protect heavy bottles from breaking, while sometimes, freshness is the main objective. In some cases, it may be used as a barrier or a form of protection against sunlight exposure.
  • The cost-effective feature of corrugated packaging has driven its adoption. The price pressures are forcing the brand owners to be aware of wastage to streamline their expensive primary packaging. Secondary packaging offers a viable solution, with corrugated boxes being one of the most affordable recyclable, and sustainable packaging options. Highly skilled labor or costly tools are not required to manufacture and fill corrugated boxes, making it a much easier solution for end users.
  • The rising consumption of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages is anticipated to aid the use of sustainable packaging solutions in the transport, handling, and storage of the beverage sector, and corrugated packaging is expected to benefit from it, especially in premium-priced beverage products such as wine. For instance, according to the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), bottled water and carbonated soft drinks (CSD) held the highest share of beverages in the United States in 2021.

US Corrugated Packaging Market Competitor Analysis

The US corrugated packaging market is fragmented due to numerous local and global vendors operating in the market. The international market players are accelerating the development of corrugated packaging in the United States, through strategic partnerships and horizontal or vertical integration and launching new products.
  • In February 2022, in order to grow its fresh food insulation box business, Cascades Incorporation revealed its plans to establish a new production facility in Tacoma, Washington, in the western part of the country. With this new location, the business will boost production capacity and broaden its geographic reach in the home-delivered, ready-to-eat meal and expanding isothermal corrugated distribution sectors for fresh seafood and fish.

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Table of Contents

1.1 Study Assumptions and Market Definition
1.2 Scope of the Study
4.1 Market Overview
4.2 Industry Value Chain Analysis
4.3 Industry Attractiveness - Porter's Five Forces Analysis
4.3.1 Threat of New Entrants
4.3.2 Bargaining Power of Buyers
4.3.3 Bargaining Power of Suppliers
4.3.4 Threat of Substitute Products
4.3.5 Intensity of Competitive Rivalry
4.4 Assessment of the Impact of COVID-19 on the Market
5.1 Market Drivers
5.1.1 Strong Demand from the E-commerce Sector
5.1.2 Growing Adoption of Light Weighting Materials & Scope for Printing Innovations Propelling Growth In Electronics & Personal Care Segment
5.2 Market Challenges
5.2.1 Concerns Over Material Availability & Durability of Corrugated Board-Based Products
6 Global Corrugated Packaging Market Overview
7.1 By End-user Industry
7.1.1 Processed Foods
7.1.2 Fresh Food and Produce
7.1.3 Beverages
7.1.4 Paper Products
7.1.5 Electrical Products
7.1.6 Other End-user Industries
8.1 Company Profiles
8.1.1 International Paper Company
8.1.2 Mondi Group
8.1.3 Smurfit Kappa Group
8.1.4 DS Smith PLC
8.1.5 WestRock Company
8.1.6 Packaging Corporation of America
8.1.7 Cascades Inc.
8.1.8 Oji Holdings Corporation
8.1.9 Georgia-Pacific LLC
8.1.10 Nippon Paper Industries Ltd

Companies Mentioned (Partial List)

A selection of companies mentioned in this report includes, but is not limited to:

  • International Paper Company
  • Mondi Group
  • Smurfit Kappa Group
  • DS Smith PLC
  • WestRock Company
  • Packaging Corporation of America
  • Cascades Inc.
  • Oji Holdings Corporation
  • Georgia-Pacific LLC
  • Nippon Paper Industries Ltd