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Corrugated Considerations During COVID

According to Research and Markets June 2020 report, the corrugated board packaging industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.1% from 2020 to 2025. With increased usage from the rise of e-commerce and the demand for sustainable packaging solutions – we expect a surge in innovations and trends to grow the corrugated packaging market even further.

Here are some of the top considerations impacting our industry.

Online Shopping

In April, Shopify shared a report on changing consumer behavior, see it here. No doubt, the retail market as a whole took a significant hit due to the economic impacts brought on by COVID-19. However, the online marketplace thrives with pure e-commerce platforms stating an 80% increase in demand since January. With this increase, e-commerce platforms are also finding that the volume of orders is too much for shipping carriers causing significant impacts to fulfillment and timely delivery.

What does it mean for corrugated packaging? An increase in demand is apparent – but without a crystal ball, it’s hard to say confidently how long it will last and if that growth will decrease when the world frees itself from COVID-19. Over the road shipping for our industry seems to be just fine – with deliveries arriving on time, if not sooner, due to minimal traffic during stay-at-home orders. Although, we’re experiencing longer lead times due to backups in rail yards, which requires some preplanning and a little patience.

Custom Package Design

Package design is evolving to further maximize branding, shelf space, and shelf-life. The growing print industry has improved technologies for printing directly on corrugated packaging. With the ability to offer print services on both high and low volume quantities, companies from all over are flocking to printers to custom print boxes to amplify their brand. Much of these advancements in print quality can also be tied to the corrugated industry for advancements in creating a lighter weight and more durable corrugated material.

In addition to custom printing, brands are also taking advantage of specialty die-cut inserts to perfect the product presentation upon opening the package. With an increased focus on branding and advancements in print technology, customized packaging is readily available for companies of all sizes.

The flexibility of run-lengths, savings in set-up costs, the ability to personalize relating to brands, regions, stores, or individuals, and the level of quality now available through the latest technologies all combine to create a ‘perfect storm’ of growth opportunities for converters and printers. For box makers and die makes, an easy way to find new and potential customers is by contacting sellers on Etsy. Many of these sellers understand the importance of branding. Etsy sellers are often smaller businesses and more than likely run pretty lean, so shorter runs will probably be their interest. 

Subscription-Based Business Models

Since the pandemic, subscription-based services have become even more popular. The simple set it, forget it and then receive it on your doorstep each month has reached even “non-techy” adopters. 

From vitamin companies to clothing to razors, contacts, food, and more, subscription-based business models are thriving. This increase in consumers has created an even greater demand for sustainable packaging and unique branding opportunities for package design. 71% of adults across 12 countries have subscription services currently *2019 Zuora International Survey* and with subscription-based sales increasing year over year representing an 18% CAGR – it’s safe to say that the subscription-based business model is here to stay.

For box makers, a great way to tap into this market is by partnering with local businesses and offering a free training for package design and present your services for subscription-based models. Great businesses to seek out for this include local wineries, canning companies, bookstores, art supply stores, and more.

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