Demand for Protective Packaging in U.S. to Grow 5% a Year Through 2019

More packaging solutions will be available to warehouse shipping departments through 2019. (Courtesy: Thomas Wasper at
More packaging solutions will be available to warehouse shipping departments through 2019.
(Courtesy: Thomas Wasper at

According to a study by the Freedonia Group, demand for the use of protective packaging will increase at a rate of about 5 percent a year through 2019.

The rise in demand is due to a rise in sales over the Internet and the use of more environmentally friendly materials including air pillows, paper fill, and custom boxes.

Consumers are demanding the use of packages that will protect goods from damage due to shock, vibration, abrasion and other occurrences that take place during shipping and handling.

Analysts say that the growth rate for protective packaging from 2009 through 2014 was 3.6 percent per year, mostly due to the recovery from the economic downturn.

While consumer demand has increased for protective packaging, dimensional shipping rates have also had an influence, as manufacturers and shippers work to reduce the amount of empty space in the shipping box and to assure products are secure during shipping.

Analysts say that many products were packaged in boxes with a lot of fill so that shippers did not have to keep a wide assortment of different size boxes.

Recently, more companies have been using customized containers or stocking a larger variety of different size boxes because it has become more cost effective than using the one size fits all principle of packaging products.

Shippers also have more items that can be used to fill empty space in a box for less money. This includes items like paper fill.

Shippers are also using corrugated cardboard or protected mailers to ship products like books that don’t need much protection.

The Freedonia Group study also found that large online retailers are using automated packaging machines to integrate air pillows as a void fill material or shipping goods in protective mailers because they are less costly to buy and ship than rigid boxes.

Internet-based grocery and meal-kit retailers are using environmentally sustainable insulating products including reusable vacuum insulated panels and jute.

Due to the drive to make business greener, the use of environmentally unfriendly items like foam have declined. Analysts say that there are a number of environmentally friendly materials that are in the early stages of development that will soon be used instead of foam. In the meantime, shippers are expected to use air pillows and paper fill instead of foam because it is believed that foam is harmful to the environment. Still the use of foam protective packaging including insulated shipping containers, molded foams, foam-in-place polyurethane, rolled foam, and loose fill will continue.

There is also more of a concern with weight and bulk. This has resulted in more use of a customized solution to send specific products. Custom boxes can offer two benefits to the shipper –- they help cut down shipping costs and they can be made to appear more appealing.

Flexible packaging products including protective mailers, bubble packaging, air pillows, and paper fill will continue to be a popular option because they are cost-effective and they can be used to protect and package a large assortment of goods.