Demand for boxes for e-commerce packaging is forecast to advance more than 10% per year to $1.1 billion in 2020, driven by continued robust growth for online retail sales, which will spur concomitant opportunities for boxes needed to ship products. These and other trends are presented in Retail E-Commerce Packaging Market in the US, a new study from The Freedonia Group (freedonia.group.com).
In 2015, boxes accounted for 28% of total e-commerce packaging demand. According to analyst Esther Palevsky, “The convenience and speed of purchasing goods online will enable online shopping to continue to increase its overall share of retail sales, fueling expanded box demand.” Moreover, consumers are becoming more comfortable with ordering large-sized goods online, thereby supporting gains for larger and more durable boxes, which are also costlier. While e-tailers will remain the largest market for boxes, 3PL companies will post the fastest gains, assisted by their advantages in terms of improving the operational processes of e-commerce fulfillment.
More than 95% of box demand is generated by corrugated boxes, with set-up boxes comprising the remainder. Set-up boxes are used as subscription boxes, containing assorted items and offering a premium appearance, making them valued as storage boxes once their contents have been used or removed. The subscription box market will also promote strong opportunities for corrugated boxes, especially as subscription service firms tend to use custom boxes with high-quality graphics or customized inserts to make the “unboxing” experience more exciting for consumers.