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North America Corrugated Board Packaging Market Size and Share Analysis 2023-2028
The North American corrugated board packaging market is projected to reach USD 47.92 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 3.35% during the forecast period (2023-2028). Corrugated board packaging is a versatile and cost-effective solution for protecting and transporting various products. Its advantages, such as being lightweight, biodegradable, and recyclable, make it an essential component in modern life.
The market size represents the value of corrugated board packaging consumption in North America. It is a flexible and economical option for safeguarding and shipping goods. The rise of e-commerce has further driven the demand for corrugated board packaging. Major players like Amazon have been using corrugated board boxes as their primary packaging, reducing the use of single-use plastics.
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USD 39.6 billion in 2021
End-User and Country
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The demand for convenience foods is also contributing to the growth of the corrugated board packaging market. As these packaging materials can preserve moisture and withstand long shipping times, companies are adopting them for secondary and tertiary packaging of processed foods. This includes perishable items like bread and meat products. Hence, the demand for corrugated board packaging is expected to increase.
However, the market faces challenges related to the availability of raw materials. Corrugated cardboard is made from cellulose fibers, either virgin or recycled. Strict forest laws against deforestation limit the availability of cellulose fibers. Countries like the United States and Canada have experienced significant losses of primary forests, raising concerns about the availability of raw materials for corrugated board packaging.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also had an impact on the market. The increased need for food packaging and the surge in e-commerce shipments have driven the demand for corrugated board packages. Grocery packaging, healthcare supplies, and e-commerce shipments have seen a significant increase in demand on e-commerce platforms.
The market is segmented based on various factors, including end-user and country.
Segmentation by End-user
Fresh Food and Produce
Other End-user Industries
Segmentation by Country
The processed foods segment in the end-user industry had a value of USD 12.34 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach USD 15.01 billion by 2028. During the forecast period, the fresh food and produce segment is expected to have the highest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.01%. One popular packaging option for processed food is the corrugated board box, which comes in various shapes and sizes, providing customers with a familiar container for their snacks. Paperboard boxes have been used for generations to package items like cereal, crackers, and other snacks, with rectangular and square boxes being common, as well as some unique shapes like hexagonal and triangular containers.
Over the past decade, the e-commerce industry has become prominent, with major players like Amazon utilizing corrugated board boxes for secondary packaging. The demand for corrugated boxes is expected to increase in e-commerce packaging due to the high-quality graphics capabilities and strength of white-top and other higher-value paperboard grades. These boxes come in standard sizes but can also be customized, not only in terms of size but also in terms of flaps and printing. Corrugated boxes support inkjet and laser printing, which have gained popularity in the e-commerce and subscription e-commerce sectors.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased demand for packing boards for online sales, thereby driving the growth of the corrugated paperboard packaging industry. The importance of online retail sales in the modern economy is demonstrated by events like Amazon’s Prime Day. Shipping boxes from Amazon and other merchants exemplify e-commerce and play a crucial role in boosting the demand for corrugated packaging in the United States and Canada.
E-commerce companies have been actively replacing single-use plastics with corrugated boxes and paper bags, creating opportunities for paper and paperboard packaging vendors. Amazon, in its frustration-free packaging program, has emphasized the ease of customization offered by corrugated board packaging, which enables the company to achieve the right-sized packaging for products and reduce overall logistics costs. The use of lighter materials also contributes to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
The Future of Corrugated Packaging predicts that e-commerce will continue to be a significant and high-growth opportunity for the corrugated board packaging market in 2023. Despite the economic slowdown affecting e-commerce and retail sales, e-commerce retail sales have continued to rise, offering significant potential for corrugated packaging suppliers.
The increasing demand for corrugated packaging in e-commerce, coupled with rising raw material prices, has led to a greater emphasis on recovering and recycling old corrugated containers (OCC). In the United States, over 35 million tons of OCC were recovered for recycling in 2021, an increase of approximately 13 million tons compared to 2001, according to the American Forests and Paper Association.
With its substantial population, the United States is expected to lead the North American corrugated box market, providing a sizable client base for the industry in the region. The country’s initiatives for environmental safety contribute to a growing paper market as people increasingly prefer biodegradable and sustainable packaging materials.
According to the US Department of Commerce, couriers and messengers in the United States generated over USD 137.9 billion in operational revenue in 2021, up from USD 117.3 billion in 2020. UPS holds the largest market share at over 37%, followed by FedEx at 33%. These figures indicate a high demand for corrugated boxes in the United States.
The United States is the second-largest user of paper and paperboard globally, consuming over 65.6 million metric tons in 2021, representing a growth of more than 3% compared to 2020, as reported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Although paper consumption dipped from the end of 2019 to the end of 2020, the market has rebounded since then due to the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This increase can be attributed to the strong demand from the corrugated packaging industry.
The export of cardboard boxes from the United States is also steadily increasing. International Paper, one of the country’s top suppliers of containerboard and corrugated cardboard, reported that in 2021, the United States exported 416 billion sq. ft of corrugated packaging. During the forecast period, corrugated box shipments from the United States are expected to reach 560 billion sq. ft.
The North American corrugated board packaging market exhibits a moderate level of fragmentation, with key players such as International Paper Company, Packaging Corporation of America, Cascades Inc., and others. Local suppliers are facing increasing competition within the market. Buyers enjoy a diverse range of options when selecting corrugated board suppliers. Companies in this industry continue to strive towards innovation, particularly in terms of flap designs and opening mechanisms. Smurfit Kappa and Sealed Air are actively exploring the replacement of single-use plastics with sustainable box packaging alternatives.
In July 2022, Georgia-Pacific made an announcement regarding a substantial upgrade to its corrugated plant located in Bradford, Pennsylvania. This upgrade involves a significant investment of USD 34 million.
In June 2022, Mondi PLC completed the sale of Nitto Denko Corporation’s Personal Care Components business (PCC) for an enterprise value of EUR 615 million (~USD 670.41 million). This sale allows Mondi to streamline its holdings and place greater emphasis on expanding its sustainable packaging operations.
In March 2022, Mondi accelerated its long-term expansion objectives by investing EUR 280 million (~USD 305.23 million) in corrugated packaging. Within its plant network, Corrugated Solutions allocated EUR 185 million (~USD 201.67 million), while the Mondi Swiecie containerboard mill received EUR 95 million (~USD 103.55 million). These investments aim to increase overall production and warehousing capacity, modernize automation systems, and improve internal material processes. Such improvements will enable better responsiveness to client demands and shorter lead times.
Key companies profiled in this report include International Paper Company, Mondi PLC, Smurfit Kappa Group, DS Smith PLC, West Rock Company, Packaging Corporation of America, Cascades Inc., Oji Holdings Corporation, Georgia-Pacific LLC, Nippon Paper Industries Co. Ltd, Sealed Air Corporation.
Recent Industry Developments
In February 2023, Kruger Packaging, a Canadian firm specializing in corrugated packaging, announced its plans to upgrade the Place Turcot containerboard mill located in Montréal, Canada. The proposed upgrades include the implementation of advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence technology, as well as the enhancement of existing manufacturing equipment. The estimated cost of this project is CAD 30 million (USD 22.4 million).
In February 2022, Georgia-Pacific LLC made a significant investment in its corrugated plant situated in Owosso, Michigan. The installation of newer equipment aims to improve the plant’s throughput and printability, thereby better meeting the demands of its customers. The advancements encompass the introduction of a new corrugator, converter, single facer, preheater, glue machine, and control systems. Additionally, an upgrade will be performed on the current single facer and unitizer. These improvements enable Owosso to expand its customer base by offering double wall capability and providing a broader range of products to its existing customers.
Key Questions Answered
What is the duration of the study period for this market?
The market of North America Corrugated Board Packaging is studied from 2018 to 2028.
What is the growth rate of the North America Corrugated Board Packaging Market?
The North America Corrugated Board Packaging Market is experiencing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.35% over the next five years.
What is the size of the North America Corrugated Board Packaging Market?
The North America Corrugated Board Packaging Market is projected to reach USD 40.64 billion in 2023 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.35% to reach USD 47.92 billion by 2028.
Who are the major players in the North America Corrugated Board Packaging Market?
The major companies operating in the North America Corrugated Board Packaging Market include International Paper Company, Mondi PLC, Smurfit Kappa Group, DS Smith PLC, and WestRock Company.