Insights to the Corrugated Market

Wait another blog about corrugated?! We’ve discussed the best practices for corrugated post-print on the press floor. We’ve taught you about our photopolymer products designed for corrugated post-print including LUX ITP™ MELO, LTL, LTS, and Digital MAF…Now we will dive further into corrugated with a market outlook.

The worldwide corrugated market is expected to increase approximately 3.7% CAGR to reach over 170 million tons and approach $300 billion by 2023, per Smithers Pira (1). Despite a reduced growth rate compared to other periods, corrugated print packaging has the highest share of the global print packaging market due to its widespread use in displays, packaged consumer goods, and shipments, all continuing to grow. Surprisingly, the corrugated market segment will expand more on average in emerging markets than in developed markets. Let’s take a step back and discuss the key trends driving growth in corrugated print packaging…

Key Trends Driving Growth
  • Exports and shipments support demand in the corrugated market, hence export-oriented markets typically have large corrugated markets.
  • Though mature, the corrugated market is expected to grow at a moderate pace as e-commerce gains ground due to increasing accessibility through mobile devices, competitive prices, urbanization, and fast shipping. The growing e-commerce movement represents an enticing opportunity for corrugated packaging as items need to be protected during transportation and distribution.
  •  With the world’s largest e-commerce market, China has a large, steadily growing corrugated market. In 2015, online shopping accounted for 12.9% of total consumer goods retail sales. In the first five months of 2016, online sales slowed; however, the growth rate of the corrugated market remained at above 25%.
  • Like China, the Indian e-commerce market is growing strongly and it is expected to double in size in the upcoming years.
  • Corrugated products are effected by ‘light-weighting’ and ‘down gauging’. In layman’s terms, using less material to produce packages, to maintain pricing advantages against competitors, partially due to increasingly demanding environmental and sustainability requirements. Companies are making significant strides in their environmental protection and energy optimization programs, along with initiatives to reduce water consumption. Nevertheless, ‘right weighting’ is a new concept being introduced. ‘Right weighting’ suggests that while some markets are taking advantage of reduced transportation costs from the use of lightweight boards, other markets are adopting heavyweight cardboard products aimed to replace wooden packaging. This heavyweight corrugated brings a significant reduction in weight and the ability to overcome regulations regarding pest and insect damage common with wood.
  • The demand for environmentally friendly packaging has never been higher. Consumer and regulatory entities in numerous industries demand sustainable products and processes. Because corrugated cardboard can be made of recyclable material, many companies are recycling corrugated packages, and reclaiming the used fiber in the manufacture of new corrugated packages. It’s no surprise that almost 90% of corrugated packages are recycled every year.
  • Traditionally considered a low value-added market, corrugated has started making waves in higher value-added markets. Corrugated experts are introducing innovative, new technologies to print retail-ready packaging; including point of sale displays and merchandising units, enhanced graphics for improved shelf appeal, Quick Response (QR) codes on consumer boxes, and high-quality digital print images. Experts claim that these trends are on the rise, signaling growth potential within a higher value-added segment of the corrugated market.

Considering the key trends driving growth in the corrugated market, companies and their suppliers still face challenges to remain competitive in a market that is evolving and responding to new consumer preferences. At MacDermid, we understand that cost-effective solutions are critical for corrugated box producers, and that flexibility is crucial to meet production deadlines. We offer a broad portfolio of solutions ranging from liquid resins to digital and analog sheet photopolymer. Some of our most recent innovations include supersoft durometer products, which feature different absorption characteristics and allow excellent ink coverage, creating the ability to successfully print on recycled corrugated surfaces. Softer plate materials require less impression and better conform to flutes of corrugated board, in turn, stabilizing box integrity. To achieve high-end graphics, a well-designed plate material with inherently flat-top dot technology is essential to maintain dot gain control and hold the finest detail. The result is a print image with less fluting and very high graphic quality. The dot structure is fundamental to reduce ink build-up and increase press uptime. Flat-top dot technology is a win-win, even for corrugated printing.

MacDermid photopolymer plate technology, suited for corrugated, guarantees the quality print you want, delivered when you need it.

Want to learn more about the corrugated market and how MacDermid can provide customized solutions for your needs? Contact us today!

To learn more contact MacDermid Graphics Solutions. Email us today.

  1. Smithers Pira. Insight: Key Drivers and Trends in Corrugated Packaging.
  2. World Wide Market for Print 2.0: Global Opportunities in Packaging (2011 – 2020)

Written By: Ivan Rozo, Business Development Manager, MGS Latin America

Ivan Rozo is the Business Development Manager for Latin America. Ivan is a Chemical Engineer with a Master Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in marketing. He has more than ten years of experience in the Flexographic industry working in roles of sales and technical support in which he has led optimization projects. Ivan's is responsible for attracting new business and consolidating strategic accounts at MacDermid in Latin America.

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