We’ve talked about sustainability in packaging in previous posts and I think you’ll read increased discussion about corrugate cardboard in future. Retail trends, sustainability, supply chain optimization, and these 4 trends are going to push corrugate into the limelight.
What’s exciting about it is that you can actually develop a market advantage from corrugate packaging. Whether it’s in branded primary packaging or internet-delivered secondary packaging, if you build an edge here in the plain brown package arena, it could be a sustainable marketing advantage.
4% Growth for Packaging Industry
Anne Marie Mohan, Senior Editor, Packaging World is offering up her top 4 packaging trends for 2014. Her insights come partly from a newly released research report by Smithers Pira, which says that demand for corrugated packaging materials will grow by 4% per year through 2019. It’ll grow from $140 billion now to $176 billion in 2019. With companies such as Walmart pushing for more sustainable packaging choices and reducing plastic usage, these estimates might be modest.
Anne Marie Mohan suggests 4 major trends will shape the growth of corrugate packaging: Environment, weight/strength factors, Internet shopping, and printing. So let’s take a look at each:
1. Environment. New packaging machines are more efficient at production and that’s timely given there is increasing pressure from retailers and governments to reduce wastage and pollution. Reducing costs is probably the bottom line driver, but it looks like engineers and designers are coming up with better solutions.
2. Lightweighting and Heavyweighting. Engineers are designing corrugate that is stronger yet constructed with lighter materials. Average corrugate materials are being reduced in weight, and materials of 70 to 160 gsm are the focus of manufacturers. New cardboard fluting techniques are helping to replace wooden packaging. This brings about significant reductions in weight to reduce transportation costs and that’s energy savings. The automotive industry is a big user of corrugate and will benefit from the new materials.
3. Internet Shopping. Retailing via the Internet and social networks is growing and will only continue growing. Mohan doesn’t discuss the drivers of this growth, however, shoppers are finding more of what they specifically want online via Amazon (their profits are up), and other retailers. Shippers have improved their services, and once Canada Post kicks in with their new giant mailboxes, Internet shopping in Canada will boom. Products will ship in plain brown packaging, however manufacturers and retailers can still leverage this opportunity to reach consumers directly in or on this packaging.
4. Printing. Internet shopping will reduce the amount of high quality printing, and that may put pressure on POP or POS packaging to produce better results. On retail shelves we’ll more use of NFC, QR codes and smartphone apps for what is called interactive packaging. Developers will work with packaging designers to power up the effectiveness of POP packaging.
The packaging industry is evolving due to technology and consumer shopping behaviour. Change means there is an opportunity for you to gain a competitive advantage.
Do you need to rebrand your packaging? There are plenty of reasons to think about it. Brands get stale, especially in the fast moving Internet era. Take a look at our packaging rebranding tips and leave your comments.
How’s your supply chain management? Are you seeing stockouts and infrequent orders? A good supply chain adds value and keeps your logistics running smoothly. Have you thought of hiring a contract packaging company to handle your chain logistics?
Take a good look at some creative packaging designs to give you some new ideas to help you turn your packaging into a competitive edge.