How Will the Corrugated Packaging Industry Change in 2020?
Published December 5, 2019
The new decade will be here before we know it, accompanied by a number of new and evolving trends in the corrugated packaging industry. Growth-prompted industry changes, emerging packaging trends, and smarter packaging machinery continue to encourage the corrugated packaging industry towards advancement. Whether you’re a product manufacturer, a secondary packaging consultant, or even a packaging automation expert, it’s vital to understand—and be ready for—these changes. Here’s what you need to know to keep your competitive edge in the packaging world.
Many packaging experts predicted a decrease in the demand for corrugated packaging. However, due to the advancement of recent technologies—like ecommerce options—we’re now seeing the opposite. Adapting to meet these increases will be critical to the success of every packaging company in the coming years.
Growth in Corrugated Packaging
Packaging efforts have moved largely overseas despite rising tariffs, and continued industrialization in countries like China and Brazil is expected to continue boosting growth. Products have become more diverse, and delivery options more advanced, meaning that unique boxes and materials are needed to package and protect goods. This need is prompting more corrugated box options, growing the industry despite increases in the price of corrugate.
With an estimated 20 percent annual growth rate overseas and at least that in the United States, ecommerce retail sales account for much of the upward trend in corrugated packaging. Ecommerce sales are expected to surpass $5.5 trillion in the next three years, representing a significant return on investment for brands smart enough to cash in on ecommerce growth. This increase will drastically affect the demand for corrugated boxes, which already fill 80 percent of ecommerce needs.
Corrugated Packaging Trends
Growth in corrugated and ecommerce packaging needs aren’t the only changes facing CPG and SPA brands starting in 2020, and beyond. Emerging trends, including sustainable and aesthetic packaging, continue to push the corrugated packaging industry forward.
The growing shift towards sustainable and eco-friendly packaging options has introduced fully recyclable packaging and stand-up pouches in a variety of designs. Along with offering environmental advantages, sustainable packaging can help companies improve their bottom line, eliminate unneeded manufacturing parts, improve safety on the production line, and minimize disposal costs.
If given a choice between two identical products, one attractively packaged, and the other plainly wrapped, which one will consumers buy? Aesthetics have always been important, but their value is increasing as it becomes more challenging to capture potential customers’ attention. Especially when it comes to visually-driven products—like painstakingly packaged subscription boxes—it’s also important to consider the increasing impact of social media interaction. The internet is all about visuals, and brands are working on transforming even secondary packaging into appealing, branded material.
Smarter Equipment, Smarter Packaging
Technological advancements are guiding the corrugated packaging industry, along with market changes and packaging trends. Is your company equipped to accommodate evolving packaging demands, or willing to offer new services to capture this expanding business?
Fit-to-product (FtP) and box-on-demand technology have become hot topics of conversation in light of the unique and growing needs of ecommerce brands like Amazon. Allowing for the erection of custom corrugated cases fitted to the exact specifications of a product, these systems are ideal for oddly shaped products. Not only do FtP and box-on-demand systems protect products during manufacturing, shipping, and eventual transportation to consumers, but they also reduce the need to maintain a high inventory of many standard, bulky boxes, and multiple types of filler.
From QR codes and temperature sensors to image recognition and augmented reality, connected packaging will be at the forefront of packaging industry changes in 2020 and beyond. With over 81 percent of Americans owning some type of smartphone, smart packaging provides an instant connection between users and products, all with a few taps of a finger. Many brands are using this new technology to easily send consumers to recipes and articles, related products, and other branded information on products.
Greet the Next Decade With Confidence
We’re calling it now: the 2020s will be a decade of rapid growth for the corrugated packaging industry. Secondary packagers will need to be ready to face these changes head-on. If you aren’t confident that your current packaging automation partner is equipped to grow with you, consider INSITE.
Our smart, simple case erectors and case sealers are designed to improve performance and eliminate unneeded parts and complexities found in other packaging equipment. With a practical focus on delivering value, we respect and appreciate your time from the first moment you visit our website through years of fully supported performance of your INSITE equipment. Contact us or get a quote today to learn more about how we can help you grow.