Study #: 3797 | Published: 05/2020 | Pages: 196 | Individual User License: US$ 5,300

Protective Packaging Market to Maintain Strong Performance Through 2024, Driven in Part by Fast-Growing E-Commerce Applications

US demand for protective packaging is projected to increase 4.4% per year to $7.5 billion in 2024. Gains will be driven by:

  • continued strong growth in e-commerce as the offerings of online retailers and use of e-commerce platforms by brick-and-mortar retailers continue to expand, increasing direct-to-consumer shipments requiring protection
  • continued growth in durable goods manufacturing, the leading market for protective packaging
  • growing willingness among users to employ higher value protective packaging materials if they help realize savings in other areas, such as shipping and labor costs and product loss

Key Findings in the US Protective Packaging Market:

Robust Growth in E-Commerce Continues to Boost Protective Packaging Demand

While e-commerce has seen robust growth in the past decade, its share of retail sales remains fairly small, suggesting considerable room for further penetration. Going forward, e-commerce will continue to provide growth opportunities as consumers become more comfortable ordering fragile, high-value, and temperature-sensitive items – such as alcoholic beverages, groceries, pharmaceuticals, and consumer electronics – online. These items require added protection and thus more packaging to ensure safe transport.

However, e-commerce trends aimed at improving efficiency – e.g., right-sized and e-commerce ready packaging – will hinder faster growth.

Flexible Protective Packaging to See Fastest Growth Due to Wide Use in E-Commerce

Flexible protective packaging products, such as air pillows and protective mailers, are expected to register the fastest growth through 2024, in large part due to their dominance in e-commerce. In addition to air pillows, paper fill is seeing significant usage in e-commerce as it both performs well and is environmentally friendly. In manufacturing applications, flexible products are finding increased use due to their light weight and recyclability. Inflatable products can also be shipped flat in a manner similar to plastic films then inflated before use, increasing shipment and storage efficiency.

Foam Products Retain Strength in Manufacturing While Use of Greener Rigid Types Grows

Despite widespread perception of the adverse environmental impact of foam products such as expanded polystyrene, the low cost, versatility, and strong performance characteristics of these products have helped them retain a significant market position in manufacturing applications. Specialized foam products such as insulated shipping containers for temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals offer above average growth prospects.

However, sustainability trends will lead producers to increase use of paperboard protectors and molded pulp packaging, both of which are already widely employed in manufacturing applications because they are both made from recycled materials and recyclable:

  • Molded pulp offers a greener image and comparable performance to molded foam and foam-in-place polyurethane.
  • Paperboard protectors are used as edge and corner protectors and dividers.

Study Coverage

This study analyzes the following US protective packaging markets: durable goods manufacturing, nondurable goods manufacturing, e-commerce, and retail and other markets. Products covered include:

  • Flexible packaging
    • protective mailers
    • bubble packaging
    • air pillows
    • paper fill
    • dunnage bags
    • surface protection films
  • Foam packaging
    • molded foams
    • insulated shipping containers
    • foam-in-place polyurethane
    • polyolefin rolled foams
    • loose fill
  • Rigid packaging
    • paperboard protectors
    • molded pulp

Historical data (2009, 2014, and 2019) and forecasts for 2024 are presented for protective packaging demand in current US dollars (including inflation). Sales are broken out by the above product types and markets, as well as by material (i.e., plastic, paper/paperboard, other). (E-commerce includes both sales by internet-only distributors and online sales made by brick-and-mortar establishments.)

The study also provides comprehensive corporate analysis including market share and competitive strategies. Additionally, it provides consumer insights based on proprietary consumer survey data and custom cross-tabs of licensed data, as well as analysis of key retail and marketing trends and innovative product introductions.


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Table of Contents

1. Executive Summary

2. Overview

Key Findings

Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic

Demand by Type

Historical Market Trends

Pricing Trends

Material Trends

Paper vs. Plastics

Demand by Material

Sustainability Goals Affecting Material Mix

Functions of Protective Packaging

Consumer Insights

Consumer Attitudes: Sustainable Packaging

Consumer Attitudes: Recycling & Environmental Responsibility

Consumer Attitudes: Recycling Packaging & Bags

Sustainability Trends

Packaging Waste Recovery

Recyclable & Biodegradable/Compostable Materials

Customization & Source Reduction

Packaging & Material Bans

E-Commerce Trends

Bricks & Clicks

Right-Sizing & Packaging Optimization

Reducing or Eliminating the Need for the Box

Legal & Regulatory Environment

Ozone-Depleting Blowing Agents

Polystyrene Feedstocks

California & New York City: End-of-Life Labeling & EPS Loose Fill

3. Protective Packaging Markets

Key Findings

Demand by Market

Durable Goods Manufacturing

Nondurable Goods Manufacturing

E-Commerce

E-Commerce: Market Size

E-Commerce: Demand by Product

Retail & Other Markets

4. Flexible Protective Packaging

Key Findings

Demand by Product

Flexible Protective Packaging Suppliers

Protective Mailers

Protective Mailers: Scope

Protective Mailers: Characteristics & Applications

Protective Mailers: Demand by Type & Market

Protective Mailers: Suppliers

Bubble Packaging

Bubble Packaging: Scope

Bubble Packaging: Characteristics & Applications

Bubble Packaging: Demand by Market

Bubble Packaging: Suppliers

Air Pillows

Air Pillows: Scope

Air Pillows: Characteristics & Applications

Air Pillows: Demand by Market

Air Pillows: Suppliers

Paper Fill

Paper Fill: Scope

Paper Fill: Characteristics & Applications

Paper Fill: Demand by Market

Paper Fill: Suppliers

Dunnage Bags

Dunnage Bags: Scope

Dunnage Bags: Characteristics & Applications

Dunnage Bags: Demand by Material & Market

Dunnage Bag: Suppliers

Surface Protection Films

Surface Protection Films: Scope

Surface Protection Films: Characteristics & Applications

Surface Protection Films: Demand Outlook

Surface Protection Film: Suppliers

Other Flexible Protective Packaging Products

Other Flexible Protective Packaging Products: Demand Outlook

Other Flexible Products: Suppliers

5. Foam Protective Packaging

Key Findings

Demand by Product

Foam Protective Packaging Suppliers

Insulated Shipping Containers

Insulated Shipping Containers: Scope

Insulated Shipping Containers: Characteristics

Insulated Shipping Containers: Applications

Insulated Shipping Containers: Demand by Application & Market

Insulated Shipping Containers: Suppliers

Molded Foam

Molded Foam: Scope & Characteristics

Molded Foam: Demand by Material & Market

Expanded Polystyrene Molded Foam: Demand Outlook

Polyolefin Molded Foam: Demand Outlook

Polyurethane Molded Foam: Demand Outlook

Molded Foams: Suppliers

Foam-in-Place Polyurethane

Foam-in-Place Polyurethane: Scope

Foam-in-Place Polyurethane: Characteristics & Applications

Foam-in-Place Polyurethane: Demand by Market

Foam-in-Place: Suppliers

Polyolefin Rolled Foam

Polyolefin Rolled Foam: Scope

Polyolefin Rolled Foam: Characteristics & Applications

Polyolefin Rolled Foam: Demand by Market

Polyolefin Rolled Foam: Suppliers

Loose Fill

Loose Fill: Scope & Characteristics

Loose Fill: Demand by Material & Market

Expanded Polystyrene Loose Fill: Demand Outlook

Biodegradable Plastic Loose Fill: Demand Outlook

Loose Fill: Suppliers

Other Foam Protective Packaging Products

Other Foam Protective Packaging Products: Demand Outlook

Other Foam Products: Suppliers

6. Rigid Protective Packaging

Key Findings

Demand by Type

Rigid Protective Packaging Suppliers

Paperboard Protectors

Paperboard Protectors: Scope

Paperboard Protectors: Characteristics & Applications

Paperboard Protectors: Demand by Market

Paperboard Protectors: Suppliers

Molded Pulp

Molded Pulp: Scope

Molded Pulp: Characteristics & Applications

Molded Pulp: Demand by Market

Molded Pulp: Suppliers

Other Rigid Protective Packaging Products

Other Rigid Protective Packaging Products: Demand by Market

Other Rigid Products: Suppliers

7. Industry Structure

Key Findings & Industry Composition

Market Share

Mergers & Acquisitions

Marketing & Distribution

Competitive Strategies

Cooperative Agreements

List of Industry Participants

8. Appendix

Scope

Definitions

Abbreviations

Freedonia Methodology

Study-Specific Methodology

Sources

Related Freedonia Group Studies

Macroeconomic Assumptions

Economic Environment

Demographics

Manufacturers' Shipments

Retail Sales & E-Commerce Outlook


List of Tables

2. Overview

Table 2-1 | Protective Packaging Demand by Type, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Table 2-2 | Protective Packaging Demand by Material, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Table 2-3 | Protective Packaging Product Functionality

Table 2-4 | Consumer Attitudes about Sustainable Packaging by Gender & Age Group, 2019 (percent of respondents)

Table 2-5 | Consumer Attitudes about Recycling & Environmental Responsibility by Gender, 2019 (percent of respondents & index)

Table 2-6 | Consumer Attitudes about Recycling & Sustainable Packaging by Gender & Age Group, 2019 (percent of respondents)

3. Protective Packaging Markets

Table 3-1 | Protective Packaging Demand by Market, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Table 3-2 | Durable Goods Manufacturing Protective Packaging Demand by Type & Product, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Table 3-3 | Nondurable Goods Manufacturing Protective Packaging Demand by Material & Product, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Table 3-4 | E-Commerce Protective Packaging Demand by Type & Product, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Table 3-5 | Retail & Other Markets Protective Packaging Demand by Type & Product, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

4. Flexible Protective Packaging

Table 4-1 | Flexible Protective Packaging Demand by Product, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Table 4-2 | Flexible Protective Packaging: Selected Suppliers

Table 4-3 | Protective Mailers: Advantages, Disadvantages, & Key Applications

Table 4-4 | Protective Mailer Demand by Type & Market, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Table 4-5 | Bubble Packaging: Advantages, Disadvantages, & Key Applications

Table 4-6 | Bubble Packaging Demand by Market, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Table 4-7 | Air Pillows: Advantages, Disadvantages, & Key Applications

Table 4-8 | Air Pillow Demand by Market, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Table 4-9 | Paper Fill: Advantages, Disadvantages, & Key Applications

Table 4-10 | Paper Fill Demand by Market, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Table 4-11 | Dunnage Bags: Advantages, Disadvantages, & Key Applications

Table 4-12 | Dunnage Bag Demand by Material & Market, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Table 4-13 | Surface Protection Films: Advantages, Disadvantages, & Key Applications

Table 4-14 | Surface Protection Film Demand, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Table 4-15 | Other Flexible Protective Packaging Demand, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

5. Foam Protective Packaging

Table 5-1 | Plastic Foam Protective Packaging Demand by Product, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Table 5-2 | Foam Protective Packaging: Selected Suppliers

Table 5-3 | Insulated Shipping Containers: Advantages, Disadvantages, & Key Applications

Table 5-4 | Insulated Shipping Container Demand by Application & Market, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Table 5-5 | Molded Foam: Advantages, Disadvantages, & Key Applications

Table 5-6 | Molded Foam Protective Packaging Demand by Material & Market, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Table 5-7 | Foam-in-Place Polyurethane: Advantages, Disadvantages, & Key Applications

Table 5-8 | Foam-in-Place Polyurethane Protective Packaging Demand by Market, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Table 5-9 | Polyolefin Rolled Foam: Advantages, Disadvantages, & Key Applications

Table 5-10 | Polyolefin Rolled Foam Protective Packaging Demand by Market, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Table 5-11 | Loose Fill: Advantages, Disadvantages, & Key Applications

Table 5-12 | Loose Fill Protective Packaging Demand by Material & Market, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Table 5-13 | Other Plastic Foam Protective Packaging Demand, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

6. Rigid Protective Packaging

Table 6-1 | Rigid Protective Packaging Demand by Type, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Table 6-2 | Rigid Protective Packaging: Selected Suppliers

Table 6-3 | Paperboard Protectors: Advantages, Disadvantages, & Key Applications

Table 6-4 | Paperboard Protector Demand by Market, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Table 6-5 | Molded Pulp: Advantages, Disadvantages, & Key Applications

Table 6-6 | Molded Pulp Protective Packaging Demand by Market, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Table 6-7 | Other Rigid Protective Packaging Demand by Market, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

7. Industry Structure

Table 7-1 | US Protective Packaging Sales by Company, 2019 (million dollars)

Table 7-2 | Selected Mergers & Acquisitions

Table 7-3 | Selected Cooperative Agreements

Table 7-4 | Selected Industry Participants

8. Appendix

Table 8-1 | Study Scope: US Protective Packaging Products & Markets

Table 8-2 | Relevant HS Codes

Table 8-3 | Relevant Industry Codes

Table 8-4 | Abbreviations & Acronyms Used in Study

Table 8-5 | Macroeconomic Indicators, 2009 - 2024 (billion 2012 dollars)

Table 8-6 | Population & Households, 2009 - 2024 (million persons)

Table 8-7 | Manufacturers' Shipments, 2009 - 2024 (billion dollars & billion 2012 dollars)

Table 8-8 | Retail & E-Commerce Sales, 2014 - 2024 (billion dollars)


List of Figures

1. Executive Summary

Figure 1-1 | Key Trends in the US Protective Packaging Market

2. Overview

Figure 2-1 | Key Trends in the US Market for Protective Packaging

Figure 2-2 | Protective Packaging Demand by Market, 2009 - 2019 (million dollars)

Figure 2-3 | Protective Packaging Demand Share by Material, 2019 (billion dollars)

Figure 2-4 | Intertape Polymer Group & HexcelPack's Curby Mailer

Figure 2-5 | Ecovative Design's Mushroom-Based Foam Packaging

3. Protective Packaging Markets

Figure 3-1 | Key Trends for Protective Packaging Markets

Figure 3-2 | Durable Goods Manufacturing: Protective Packaging Demand Share by Type, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Figure 3-3 | Nondurable Goods Manufacturing: Protective Packaging Demand Share by Type, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Figure 3-4 | E-Commerce Share of Retail Sales & Annual Growth, 2014 - 2019 (percentage)

Figure 3-5 | E-Commerce Protective Packaging Demand Share by Type, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Figure 3-6 | Retail & Other Markets: Protective Packaging Demand Share by Type, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

4. Flexible Protective Packaging

Figure 4-1 | Key Trends for Flexible Protective Packaging

Figure 4-2 | Protective Mailer Product Example

Figure 4-3 | Bubble Packaging Product Example

Figure 4-4 | Air Pillow Product Example

Figure 4-5 | Paper Fill Product Example

Figure 4-6 | Dunnage Bag Product Example

Figure 4-7 | Surface Protection Film Product Example

5. Foam Protective Packaging

Figure 5-1 | Key Trends for Foam Protective Packaging

Figure 5-2 | Insulated Shipping Containers Product Example

Figure 5-3 | Molded Foam Product Example

Figure 5-4 | Molded Foam Protective Packaging Demand Share by Material, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Figure 5-5 | Expanded Polystyrene Molded Foam Protective Packaging Demand by Market, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Figure 5-6 | Polyolefin Molded Foam Protective Packaging Demand by Market, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Figure 5-7 | Polyurethane Molded Foam Protective Packaging Demand by Market, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

Figure 5-8 | Foam-in-Place Polyurethane Product Example

Figure 5-9 | Polyolefin Rolled Foam Product Example

Figure 5-10 | Loose Fill Product Example

Figure 5-11 | Loose Fill Protective Packaging Demand Share by Material, 2009 - 2024 (million dollars)

6. Rigid Protective Packaging

Figure 6-1 | Key Trends in Rigid Protective Packaging

Figure 6-2 | Paperboard Protectors Product Example

Figure 6-3 | Molded Pulp Product Example

7. Industry Structure

Figure 7-1 | US Protective Packaging Market Share by Company, 2019 (billion dollars)

Figure 7-2 | US Protective Packaging Market: Leading Supplier, 2019

Figure 7-3 | US Protective Packaging Market: Second Leading Supplier, 2019

Figure 7-4 | US Protective Packaging Market: Third Leading Supplier, 2019

Figure 7-5 | US Protective Packaging Market: Fourth Leading Supplier, 2019

8. Appendix

Figure 8-1 | Annual Growth in Real GDP, 2000 - 2019, Compared to 1980 - 2005 Average (percent)

Figure 8-2 | Annual Population Growth, 2004 - 2019 (percent)


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