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Internet shopping to help build protective packaging demand

A rebound in manufacturing output and Internet shopping growth is predicted to advance U.S. protective packaging demand to $5.9 billion in 2016.

The increasing popularity of Internet shopping will be one of the most important trends influencing protective packaging demand. That, added to an anticipated rebound in manufacturing output, especially for durable goods, will push protective packaging demand in the U.S. by 5% a year to $5.9 billion in 2016. That’s according to “Protective Packaging,” a new study from The Freedonia Group.

The market research firm says these factors will necessitate heightened requirements for cost-effective packaging used in the protection of goods from shock, vibration, abrasion, and other damaging effects of shipping and handling.

Freedonia says, “Products expected to benefit include protective mailers, air pillows, and bubble packaging. Mailers are valued as an alternative to boxes, providing reduced material and postage costs, source reduction and space savings. Solid gains for air pillows will be the result of advantages over other void-fill materials in terms of cost and material use, and consumer preference for the product over traditional materials such as loose-fill. Growing requirements for cost-effective, lightweight cushioning will propel gains for bubble packaging, which also offers greater ease of use than alternatives such as foam-in-place polyurethane.”

The report makes the following points:

• Recovery in the manufacturing sector, particularly a substantial improvement in durable goods output, will fuel accelerated gains for protective packaging, especially foam products and molded pulp. 

• Opportunities for paperboard protectors will be assisted by healthy growth for warehouse clubs and home center stores, boosting demand for edge protection products, which are used by these establishments to unitize and stack pallets. 

• Insulated shipping containers will be one of the fastest growing protective packaging product types as a result of growing cold chain requirements in the pharmaceutical and life science industries, as well as rising online sales of perishable foods.  Pharmaceutical uses will be driven by rapidly expanding markets for biotechnology drugs and vaccines, which are often temperature-sensitive. 

 •Green packaging’s increased prominence will also propel gains for molded pulp, paper fill, biodegradable loose-fill, and automated onsite bubble packaging systems, among others.  Advantages of molded pulp and biodegradable loose-fill include ease of disposal and more stable pricing than petroleum-based plastics. 

The 276-page “Protective Packaging”  is available for $5,100 from The Freedonia Group, by contacting Corinne Gangloff by phone 440.684.9600, fax 440.646.0484, or e-mail

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