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Strong consumer sales positive sign for packaging demand

DS Smith data indicate U.S. shopping trends and demand for shipping and storage boxes.


Businesses that faced pandemic struggles are showing signs of recovery, increasing orders with packaging producers in response to consumer demand for more home and personal care products.

DS Smith, a packaging producer with global headquarters in London and U.S. headquarters in Atlanta, says packaging sales often are seen as a barometer of the health of key industry sectors. The company shared its latest data that indicate U.S. shopping trends on the upswing as consumers gradually return to work and play amid fewer pandemic restrictions.

“After dealing with a stay-at-home culture, Americans now are shopping for a fresh look, and businesses quickly are responding,” says Mark Ushpol, managing director of the North America Packaging Division for DS Smith. “With many companies reopening doors to employees, and vaccinated family and friends getting together, consumers are preparing to make sure they and their homes look their best.”

Among the highlights of DS Smith’s report, comparing the first six months of 2021 to that same period last year, its customer sales of shipping and storage boxes for:

  • home and personal care products jumped 296 percent;
  • fashion and accessories grew 105 percent, including major online and chain clothing companies;
  • distilled spirits went up 372 percent and beer increased 53 percent; and
  • supplies of wine leaped 847 percent.

As many workers return to traditional offices, they’re still sticking with their favorite pastimes.

DS Smith reports that its packaging sales in the sport, leisure and toy category increased 99 percent in the early months of 2021 compared with that same stretch a year before. It ranged from packaging for water sports to crayons and musical instruments to arts and crafts products.

Luggage and footwear packaging made a significant 221 percent jump, according to sales data from DS Smith. Possibly reflecting an uptick in those domestic travel plans, packaging for retailers selling auto parts and related equipment and industrial accessories rose 137 percent.

Also showing growth, sales spiked 17 percent for furniture and home décor, including from companies specializing in kitchen and bath cabinets, bedding, couches, chairs and similar items. DS Smith says the increase in sales this year stems in part from packaging customers embracing the company’s sustainability efforts. DS Smith offers fiber-based, recyclable, plastic-free paper products, and the company’s innovative packaging designs give businesses effective shipping and storage solutions.

“As online buying further expands and consumers return to in-store shopping, we’re continuously bringing to the market new innovations that solve packaging challenges and help companies design reuse and recyclability into packaging,” Ushpol says.