Industrial packaging industries across the globe are predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6%, between this year and 2025.

The most recent market predictions estimate that the industry will grow by around 3.4% annually, with the biggest share of the market being taken by Asia, which will surge ahead of America and Western Europe to become the dominant market.

The four main users of this type of packaging, which are bulk food and drink, building and construction, lubricants, and chemicals and pharmaceuticals, are still showing signs of recovery from the worldwide economic slowdown in 2008, and that is helping to increase the use of packaging in all countries.

Heading the industry’s resurgence is the chemicals and pharmaceuticals industry, which now accounts for almost a third of the total packaging market worldwide.

Also driving the overall predicted growth are advancing in the automotive and construction industries, as well as technological developments within the packaging industry itself.

Four major trends which are expected to help grow the market in the near future are innovations in ‘downgauging,’ recycling, optimisation of pack shape, and workers’ safety.

A major and increasingly popular trend in packaging, recycling has become more and more important in recent years, as all industries are tasked with seeking to reduce their overall environmental impact to meet global targets and serve more environmentally-aware consumers.

Going hand in hand with recycling, downgauging is the trend towards manufacturing packaging using fewer materials. For instance, using thinner plastic in drums, reducing the weight of paper sacks and minimising the amount of plastic used in the film.

This practice serves numerous aims: to reduce the costs in manufacturing and buying the packaging, decreasing the amount of waste produced, and substantially lessening the amount of materials required.

It is envisaged that customer demands for ‘greener’ packaging in the future will lead to further innovations in the manufacturing and recycling of packaging.

Linked to this demand for more efficient industrial packaging is the trend towards pack shape optimisation. In a bid to reduce transport costs and maximise storage space, manufacturers are increasingly looking to make their packaging in shapes which fit together better in cargo ships and transporters.

One example of this is rectangular intermediate bulk containers (IBCs), which can be more closely packed than previous types, meaningless empty or void space while transporting.

Moves to make packaging safer to handle on its way around the globe are also driving innovations, directed by worldwide organisations, such as the United Nations. These include trends towards safer packaging for hazardous materials.

In addition to these four major factors, the growth in the use of industrial packaging is being influenced by other, more localised, trends.

In emerging economies such as India and China, construction and housing investment are driving the growth, in addition to increasing demand for goods of all types. In developed countries, the trend towards smaller, more convenient, packs of goods, as well as the emergence of men’s beauty products, has had a big impact.

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