Paperboard use predicted to rise

Forecast sees nearly 4 percent annual growth for U.S. paperboard box market through 2022.

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January 11, 2019

Demand for folding paperboard boxes is expected to grow 3.9 percent per year through 2022, according to a study conducted by the Cleveland-based industry research firm The Freedonia Group. The forecast estimates the sector will produce $12.8 billion worth of goods in 2022.

In 2018, the Trump administration levied a 10 percent tariff on folding cartons from China that was scheduled to increase to 25 percent Jan. 1, 2019. In December 2018, however, China and the United States agreed on a temporary suspension of tariff increases.

If tariffs continue to rise as planned, they will result in increases in domestic production as well as a more rapid transition to flexible packaging formats, predicts The Freedonia Group in its new study Corrugated & Paperboard Boxes.

The U.S. maintains a trade deficit in folding paperboard boxes that accounted for about 5 percent of demand in 2017. The study’s findings in terms of trade include:

  • by value, Canada supplies almost half of the folding cartons imported by the U.S. because of its geographic proximity and abundant forestry resources and paper mills; and
  • China is the second largest source of folding cartons – in both volume and value terms – because the country’s low manufacturing costs offset the cost of shipping these products.

Demand for all types of corrugated and paperboard boxes (i.e., corrugated and solid fiber, folding paperboard and setup paperboard) is forecast to increase 2.6 percent annually and grow to $42.5 billion in 2022. Nearly half of all new demand will stem from the food and beverage market, and 16 percent of new box sales will derive from the once small but rapidly growing e-commerce segment, according to the study.

The full 212-page Corrugated & Paperboard Boxes study is available for $5,500 from The Freedonia Group, with more information on this web page.