Inside Logistics

Corrugated box demand set to soar

Changing e-commerce trends fueling greater demand


February 19, 2020
by

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Global demand for corrugated shipping boxes is projected to rise 12 percent annually to 12.5 billion square meters in 2023 on the back of e-commerce demand, according to a new report by the Freedonia Group.

Corrugated boxes are used to ship virtually any type of merchandise purchased via e-commerce and are relatively low cost, strong, durable and recyclable.

The Asia/Pacific region will account for the majority of gains (62 percent) primarily due to:

  • continued fast expansion of the Chinese e-commerce market, the largest in the world;
  • rising consumer incomes and internet penetration across the region allowing more people to begin shopping online for the first time;
  • the development of order-fulfillment infrastructure that facilitates cross-border shipping;
  • increasing consumer comfort with purchasing fragile or high-value products online that may require larger or sturdier boxes.

In North America and Western Europe, e-commerce box demand is supported by:

  • the large number of orders per person, as most consumers shop online;
  • wide use of online shopping subscriptions that offer free shipping for nearly any order, which encourage more frequent orders;
  • widespread consumer comfort with purchasing fragile or high-value products online, which often require higher value boxes to ship;
  • rising popularity of higher-value custom boxes with high-quality graphics.

However, right-sizing trends in these well-established e-commerce markets will restrain faster growth as the value of commodity-type boxes used in e-commerce decreases as boxes being smaller and using fewer materials per order.