Industry analyst Smithers forecasts steady growth in demand for industrial packaging across the next five years, with market value rising from $56.2bn this year at a compound annual growth rate of 3.3 per cent to reach $66bn in 2024.

The forecast comes in the latest market report The Future of Industrial Packaging to 2024.

Smithers says that last year the world produced about $36tn worth of manufactured goods, almost all of which was packaged, protected, and shipped in some form of industrial packaging. These industrial packaging products are key to the safe, efficient and economical transport of manufactured goods in local, regional and global commerce.

Overall demand in this sector will always closely follow international trade flows; however, according to Smithers, there are other far-reaching factors that may facilitate greater product innovations and evolutionary restructuring of value chains and business models. With shifts in end-use demands across the five years to 2024, The Future of Industrial Packaging to 2024 identifies the following key drivers and trends for the industrial packaging industry today:

  • Ongoing migration to developing regions: Manufacturing economies and demand for industrial packaging products will continue to migrate to China, India, and the emerging and developing nations of Asia, Africa and elsewhere – especially among lower-value, less technically demanding manufactured goods.
  • Potential trade and tariff disputes: Industrial packaging consumption growth is driven by the state of the global manufacturing economy, and by the state of global and regional economies and trade. While overall forecasts point to relatively stable global and regional business environment, ongoing trade and tariff disputes – Brexit, Nafta, China vs US protectionism, for example – have potential to impact future industrial packaging use.
  • Safety, health, regulatory: No major changes in the regulatory environment for industrial packaging is expected. Manufacturers in developing regions may face challenges in adapting to international standards, such as those regarding transport of dangerous goods. Industry will continue to implement evolutionary improvements in durability and fire safety of plastic drums and IBCs.
  • Smart packaging: Integration of packaging materials with sensor and communications technologies, logistics functions, and management information systems will allow real-time monitoring and analysis of status and condition of valuable shipments.
  • Package innovation: Suppliers of materials, especially plastics, will continue to provide evolutionary improvements to key raw materials: greater puncture, cracking and abrasion resistance; greater strength and rigidity to support downgauging; improved chemical resistance; and barrier properties.

Smithers' latest report, The Future of Industrial Packaging to 2024, analyses industrial packaging market trends for the period 2014–19, extending business forecasts across the period 2020–24, by container format, end-use sector, and geographic markets, including a detailed analysis for 15 major countries.

The company says the report provides a comprehensive assessment of the global marketplace for important industrial packaging products. It analyses key channels for their production, distribution, recovery and reuse; it also provides descriptions and statistical profiles of important end-use segments for industrial packaging, with global and significant regional detail.

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