Retail-ready packaging to reach $82.0 billion globally in 2021

Global growth for retail-ready packaging will grow steadily by around 4% annually across 2016-2021, reaching 38.7 million tonnes of paper and plastic materials, and a value of $82.0 billion in 2021, according to new market data from Smithers Pira.

In its new report, The Future of Retail-ready Packaging to 2021 Smithers’ says that global retail-ready demand reached a total of 30.5 million tonnes of material in 2015 and was worth $62.8 billion. The market is expected to grow on average by around 4% annually across 2016–2021, reaching 38.7 million tonnes of paper and plastic materials and a value of $82.0 billion in 2021, at constant 2016 prices.

Shorter print runs are seen as a key factor driving the retail-ready packaging (RRP) market, as more retailers and brand owners are looking to promotional marketing to boost sales. These promotions result in unpredictable demand for packaging in general – including RRPs – creating a premium on short runs and quick response to orders

Smithers consultant and report author Stephen Harrod

From a geographic perspective, North America and Western Europe will cede market share to Asia-Pacific over the forecast period. The late adoption of RRP in North America means there is still reasonable growth in this region, while in the more mature market Western European demand is maturing and slowing. Asia-Pacific and Africa are the fastest expanding region, with both enjoying average annual growth of over 6% from 2016–2021.

The actual incremental tonnage of material generated in each region over this period shows a slightly different picture. With nearly half originating in Asia-Pacific and a further third from the emerging markets of Eastern Europe and South and Central America.

The changing demands for RRP have been a contributing factor in the development of high-quality, high-speed, wide-format digital printers for post-print corrugated packaging, many of which were unveiled at Drupa in June 2016, the international print technology fair. These developments lend themselves to the production of corrugated RRPs especially, many of which require shorter print runs and faster changeovers.

There is still stiff competition between materials as well as pack formats in RRP, which creates a healthy commercial environment. Competition is also leading to dispute about the environmental benefits of different types of RRPs. This is particularly pertinent in the fresh produce market, where corrugated producers claim their product is more beneficial to the consumer and discourages bacterial contamination; in contrast sellers of plastic formats insist their product is more environmentally friendly as it is reuseable, and thus has a smaller carbon footprint.

The Future of Retail-Ready Packaging to 2021 [] presents an in-depth quantitative and qualitative analysis of the global demand for RRP and a critical assessment of the major influences driving demand for it. The market is quantified and segmented according to type of material and pack format, end-use application, and geographic location for 2011-2021.


The Future of Retail-ready Packaging to 2021 is available for £4,200.
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