The global industrial packaging market is set to see considerable growth in the coming years. Forecasts predict that this growth will be particularly strong up to 2022. In the UK alone, the sector already employs more than 80,000 staff and has a turnover in excess of £11 billion annually, making it a significant contributor to UK GDP and the UK supply chain.

But what is driving this growth and how can businesses in this sector capitalise on the opportunities available?

Advances in technology and the ability to quickly and easily customise products to suit a client’s requirements are two of the key areas that will fuel growth in this sector.

The increase in demand for personalisation of products is one of the areas that is driving growth in the packaging sector. Being able to add specific personal details such as names, or dates of the event, for example, offers lucrative opportunities. Luxury brands are also constantly looking for ways to stand out from the crowd and differentiate themselves from their competitors, and packaging is one such way they can do this.

The industrial packaging also plays a key role in buying decisions. A product that stands out from others, because it is more safely packed or more desirably packed, can see much higher sales.

Increased online sales will also continue to fuel the demand for high-quality packaging. Generally, this covers cardboard boxes, but again, the ability to offer customised products is as essential today as providing a premium quality product. Alongside this, more and more product types are now being shipped than ever before, including some more hazardous products, such as medical supplies and chemicals. These types of products can require specific packaging that includes UN certification.

Another factor that is expected to support the growth of the industry is the continued increase in demand from food and beverage manufacturers, particularly as they strive to keep up with the strict health, hygiene and safety regulations that are imposed on them.

As Generation Z, or Millennials, continue to come of age and take up positions in business and commerce, their green concerns will also continue to drive the demand for eco-friendly and recyclable packing products, and this presents another opportunity for suppliers to capitalise on. However, to ensure that this is cost-effective, and to maximise margins, suppliers may need to review and revise their current strategies to determine how they can lower the costs associated with the collection and recycling of packaging.

So, for businesses who supply industrial packaging, it’s clear that to make the most of the opportunities available, they need to stay ahead of the curve in terms of trends in the marketplace, advances in technology and legislation that may affect certain industry sectors. It’s no longer acceptable to simply supply a range of bags and boxes. The ability to easily customise packaging, whether that be size, shape, colour or personalised printing is crucial to meet client demand, and technology will play a key part here. The changing political and ethical values of younger generations as they enter the world of business and become key decision-makers will also affect trends in the packaging sector and this will need to be closely monitored and reacted to accordingly.

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