MRO Magazine

Global demand for corrugated boxes to grow 3.4% yearly through 2013

Cleveland, OH -- World demand for corrugated boxes is forecast to increase 3.4% per year to 213 billion square metr...


May 29, 2009
By MRO Magazine


Cleveland, OH — World demand for corrugated boxes is forecast to increase 3.4% per year to 213 billion square metres in 2013, in line with real (inflation-adjusted) gains in GDP, according to a new study from the Freedonia Group Inc.


Factors contributing to rising box demand include growth in industrial activities, particularly the manufacturing sector, which often requires corrugated packaging to protect and transport goods. In addition, ongoing developments in small flute and high-quality graphic board will allow corrugated boxes to penetrate traditional folding carton applications, especially in the developed world. Greater interest in corrugated packaging as a point-of-sale display in retail applications will also boost demand for value-added corrugated boxes.



Additionally, corrugated boxes will benefit from their environmentally friendly image, as well as certain cost advantages compared to plastics crates, which typically involve cleaning and returning costs.


Recycled board to capture more market share


Global containerboard demand growth will trail box production as trends toward the use of higher-performance, lighter board continue. In addition, recycled board will continue to capture market share at the expense of virgin kraft linerboard and semi-chemical corrugated medium (fluting), accounting for over 70% of board by 2013.


Advances for recycled board will be bolstered by consumer, industry and regulatory pressures for environmentally friendly products and practices, rising virgin board prices and rapid demand growth in Asia, which is heavily reliant on recycled liner and fluting.


Developing regions to see fastest increases


The fastest increases will occur in the world’s developing regions, although growth rates will moderate from the 2003-2008 period. The Asia/Pacific region, Eastern Europe and the Africa/ Mideast region will all outpace the global average.


Some of the best gains are expected in China, which will surpass the US as the world’s largest corrugated box market by 2013; and India, which will benefit from strong growth in industrial output and consumer product markets, as well as greater investment in state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment, resulting in improved product quality. China will account for about half of the increase in demand over the forecast period.


Greater urbanization and industrialization, and expanding international trade will support advances in these regions’ generally underdeveloped packaging sectors. Rising consumer income levels and expanding middle classes will also generate robust internal demand for packaged consumer goods like processed foods, beverages and personal care items, supporting increases in corrugated box consumption.


Freedonia’s 313-page Study #2485 (April 2009) costs US$5,600. For details, call 1-800-927-5900 or e-mail


2008 World Corrugated Box Demand

-World: 180 billion square metres

-Asia/Pacific 40%

-North America 24%

-Western Europe 21%

-Other Regions 15%