According to “The Future of Corrugated Packaging to 2023” from Smithers Pira (smitherspira.com), e-commerce is becoming a significant and high-growth opportunity for the corrugated packaging market to 2023.
Despite the economic slowdown over the past few years that has had a negative impact e-commerce packaging/ on retail sales in general, e-commerce retail sales have continued to show growth, and present a considerable opportunity for corrugated packaging suppliers.
The nature of e-commerce packaging favors the use of corrugated board as a major medium and it is now estimated that upwards of $20 billion worth of corrugated materials are used in this sector as a whole. The major sectors making use of e-sales systems include consumer electronics, books and media products, fashion, and toys, hobby, and sports equipment.
And there is room for major growth in this market too. According to 2017 data from eMarketer, e-commerce is currently responsible for 10% of all retail sales and will grow to nearly 15% by 2020.
Smithers Pira forecasts that the overall market for e-commerce packaging will grow rapidly in the coming years – expanding at a compound annual growth rate of 14.3% from 2017 through to 2022. This growth will see e-commerce packaging – including corrugated packaging, as well as flexible packaging, and protective and transit packaging – reaching almost $55 billion in 2022. This remarkable growth rate compares to an overall growth rate for the packaging industry of 2.9% in 2017-22.
Addressing this fast-changing market will require corrugated packaging suppliers, and the overall packaging supply chain, to meet new (and in some cases, still developing) requirements.
With an increasingly complex logistics chain, e-commerce packages are expected to be handled up to 20 times or more during a standard delivery. Added to the scale of the necessary warehousing and delivery systems for e-commerce, there is therefore considerable demand for robust, cost-effective packaging solutions in this sector.