The Paperboard Packaging Council’s (PPC) recently released Trends: 2016 Industry Outlook and Market Data Report predicts stable, long-term growth for the folding carton market. According to this comprehensive analysis of industry growth trends, carton shipments will increase at an average annual rate of 0.5% through 2019, and the market will climb to $8.9 billion over the same period.
Prepared exclusively for PPC members by RISI, the leading provider of forest products information and data, the Trends Report offers forecasts for the future as well as insights into past performances. 2016 proved challenging for the carton market, as competition from other substrates remained strong and consumers sought out fresh food products not generally packaged in paperboard. However, the report predicts that overall consumer spending, along with other solid underlying fundamentals of the U.S. economy, will help to grow demand for folding cartons through the remainder of the current decade.
The 2016 report reveals several overall trends that should further benefit the market. On the consumer side, some of the largest fast food companies and municipalities across the country have made decisions to use paper products over other substrates. Paperboard packaging is currently poised to benefit widely from its environmentally friendly character.
On the supply side, a challenge for the carton industry has been the increasing cost of paperboard, which has put pressure on profitability. Trends reveals that board prices should break in the next year, as substantial tonnage is currently ramping up in Europe. Furthermore, excess board from oversupplied Chinese markets is spilling into export markets, which should further decrease board prices in the near term. 
In addition to forecasts for the overall folding carton industry, Trends also includes in-depth analyses of 17 key end-use segments, including confectionery, dairy, dry foods, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, recreational products, soap and detergent, and more. This year, four categories were classified as growing markets, ten as mature, and three as declining.
“By showing folding carton converters where the industry has been and where it is going, PPC’s Trends Report helps them hone their plans for 2017,” says Ben Markens, president of PPC. “I recommend it to all business executives, marketers and sales teams in the industry.”
PPC members can download the Trends Report at A free summary is also available for nonmembers.