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U.S. Demand for Corrugated, Paperboard Boxes to Exceed $39 billion in 2018

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Demand for corrugated and paperboard boxes in the U.S. is projected to exceed $39 billion in 2018, according to an upcoming study by Freedonia Group, Cleveland, Ohio, USA, titled Corrugated & Paperboard Boxes. The study notes that gains will improve from the performance of the 2008-2013 period as manufacturing output continues to recover from low levels following the 2007-2009 recession. A rebound in the production of nondurable goods such as food, beverages, cosmetics and toiletries, pharmaceuticals, and cleaning products will fuel heightened requirements for related shipping and other boxes. 
 
Other factors supporting increases will include accelerated output of durable goods, improved consumer spending growth, a rebound in construction spending, and further rapid growth for online shopping. Value increases will also be helped by the growing presence of value added box types, such as display-ready boxes and boxes with high quality graphics.
 
Corrugated and solid fiber box opportunities will be driven by a recovery in the manufacturing sector coupled with their position as the shipping container of choice for a broad array of durable and nondurable goods. Volume advances will reflect expanded use of lighter weight, high performance paperboard grades that can provide compression strength similar to that of corrugated boxes made from traditional heavier weight paperboard.
 
The study also finds that folding carton demand will improve from the performance of the 2008-2013 period and will be supported by a rebound in nondurable goods output and expanded opportunities in carryout food applications. However, advances will be restrained by competition from other packaging formats—particularly flexible packaging. Set-up boxes will remain a specialty niche in the box industry, with imports comprising an increasing share of demand. Nonetheless, prospects will be helped by an improved outlook for discretionary spending and boxes’ entrenched position as upscale packaging for fragrances, premium confectionery products, and gift sets.
 
Food and beverages represent the largest single market for corrugated and paperboard boxes, accounting for 50% of total demand in 2013. Segments that are expected to post above average gains include produce, meat/poultry/seafood, dairy, and beverage, with sugar and confectionery, baked goods, and grain mill product uses expected to grow more slowly. 
 
Despite sustainability efforts aimed at reducing excess packaging by eliminating boxes and cartons or reducing the amount of paperboard utilized in food and beverage cartons, ongoing opportunities in the vast food and beverage market will be based on a combination of relatively low cost, protective performance, and a well developed infrastructure for recycling.
 
The durable goods market will post a rebound through 2018, supported by heightened output following low levels of recent years. Moreover, a rebound in construction activity will drive demand for household appliances, furniture, and other durable goods, as well as related boxes. The nonmanufacturing market will be the fastest rising box market through 2018 and beyond, propelled by the continuing popularity of online shopping and greater use of carryout food boxes in the foodservice industry in light of growing restrictions on foam carryout containers.
 
More information about this study is available online.
 

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