28 November 2020


Packaging print market growth will be limited this year but will continue to expand over the next five years, according to new research from Smithers.

In its latest report, The Future of Package Printing to 2025, the market report publisher and consultancy for the print, paper and packaging industries said the total value for printed packaging and labels will reach $431.6bn (£325.5bn) in 2020, up slightly from $426.4bn in 2019.

The coronavirus pandemic and the global lockdown has affected printed packaging volumes, but to a much lesser extent than publications or graphics work, Smithers said.

However, the packaging print market will continue to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.6% and reach $491.1bn in 2025 according to research for the new study.

Cartonboard and corrugated are the two largest packaging segments, representing 24.9% and 30.1% of the market by value in 2020.

In the short term these two areas will benefit from Covid-19 and shifts in packaging demand, while in the medium term other trends, such as sustainability goals, will foster further growth and innovation.

Smithers information division director of research and reports Adam Page told Printweek the overall market “will weather the headwinds of the pandemic”.

“As an industry packaging and labels is generally quite resilient, at least in developed markets, we saw this during the 2008 recession.

“In 2020, the specific conditions of Covid-19 have helped packaging and labels further. Lockdown (shelter-in-place) orders have not affected overall consumption but have switched the retail channel.

“In Q2 2020 there was a surge in demand, particularly for food and other essentials, as many consumers stocked up ahead of the initial stay-at-home orders. The widespread closure of many hospitality venues has helped sustain this, with a corresponding rise in packaged food and beverages for consumption at home.”

He added: “E-commerce has also boomed. Smithers’ data show that e-commerce packaging demand is up around 40% in 2020, relative to 2019. This is good news as e-commerce delivery uses more packaging per unit than retail selling, and these each need individual shipping labels.