Industry Press Releases

The Freedonia Group: US Corrugated & Paperboard Box Demand to Exceed $41 Billion

Tuesday, Apr 26, 2016

Demand for corrugated and paperboard boxes in the US is forecast to increase 2.6 percent per year to $41.2 billion in 2020, as both nondurable goods manufacturing and retail sales post healthy gains. E-commerce and retail-ready applications will drive growth for corrugated boxes while folding carton demand will be sustained by the foodservice, carryout and pharmaceutical markets. Value gains for corrugated and paperboard boxes will be stimulated by the increased adoption of value-added features such as high-quality printing, easy-open tear strips, and special coatings. Volume growth, however, will be held back by lightweighting trends and market maturity. These and other trends are presented in Corrugated & Paperboard Boxes, a new study from The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based industry research firm.

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Corrugated and solid fiber boxes will continue to hold the largest share of demand, comprising 74 percent of the total in 2020 and reaching $30.5 billion on growth of 3.0 percent per year.  Corrugated boxes benefit from advantages in terms of cost and strength capabilities and will remain the default shipping container throughout the foreseeable future, despite some competition from reusable containers, flexible packaging, and film covers. "Moreover, as the e-commerce market continues to expand, so too will demand for boxes to ship products to consumers," notes analyst Katie Wieser.  Additionally, demand for shipping containers that can also act as retail displays will boost value growth as this application typically requires the use of high-quality printing and the integration of features that allow the box to be opened without tools.

Folding carton demand is forecast to increase 1.5 percent per year to $10.1 billion in 2020, posting slow growth as these containers face significant competition from flexible packaging formats such as stand-up pouches.  However, the environmental advantages of folding cartons compared to foam or plastic clamshells for the restaurant carryout market will help to sustain gains.  Additionally, growing pharmaceutical output will boost demand for related packaging such as folding cartons.  Demand for set-up boxes is expected to expand 2.0 percent per year to $540 million in 2020, bolstered by continued growth in cosmetics and toiletries, and durable goods such as silverware and medical instruments.

About The Freedonia Group – The Freedonia Group, a division of, is a leading international industrial research company publishing more than 100 studies annually. Since 1985 we have provided research to customers ranging in size from global conglomerates to one-person consulting firms. More than 90% of the industrial companies in the Fortune 500 use Freedonia Group research to help with their strategic planning. Each study includes product and market analyses and forecasts, in-depth discussions of important industry trends, market share information and profiles of the leading industry players. Reports can be purchased at and are also available on and

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Corinne Gangloff
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