The robust e-commerce sector growth across the globe, due to the changing consumer behavior, is expected to drive the global retail e-commerce packaging market to $68,388.1 million by 2030, at a CAGR of 12.1% during 2020–2030 (forecast period). Till a few years ago, retail e-commerce packaging was majorly used to protect the product till its delivery to the customer, but nowadays, packaging manufacturers are taking steps to make their packages more attractive to potential customers. The new packaging materials being introduced in the market also provide a sense of product safety to consumers, who purchase products via digital platforms.
COVID-19 is having a positive effect on the global retail e-commerce packaging market, and it is expected that the pandemic will further fuel the growth of the industry in the long run. It is expected that consumers across all regions will change their purchasing patterns, in view of the current circumstances. They are already buying groceries and other daily-use items through online stores, while at the same time, hesitating to spend on luxury items.
Furthermore, the cost factor is also expected to weigh heavy on the packaging industry, as buyers are becoming ever more price-sensitive. Thus, packaging manufacturers will need to win a sufficient volume of orders to keep their product prices low.
Boxes Will Remain in Highest Demand during Forecast Period
On the basis of material type, retail e-commerce packaging industry is categorized into boxes, envelopes, and others, which include air cushions, bubble wraps, and tapes and labels. Among all, boxes held the largest revenue share during the historical period (2014–2019), and the category is likely to retain its position during the forecast period. This is due to the fact that this packaging material is the first preference among both e-commerce companies and consumers, as it provides a sense of security to both the parties.
For instance, in the case of e-commerce companies, efficient packaging reduces the product return ratio, as it protects the package from damages, thus increasing profitability. Similarly, from the perspective of consumers, it protects their products from damages and saves the time spent in returning and reordering it. Owing to such factors, the demand for boxes will remain at a higher side, compared to other material types.
Based on end-user, the retail e-commerce packaging market is categorized into consumer electronics, fashion and apparel, cosmetics and personal care, food and beverages, furniture and home furnishing, and others. Among all categories, consumer electronics generated the highest revenue during the historical period, as consumers prefer to shop for electronics appliances and mobile phones via digital platforms, as they provide several discounts, which are not always available at physical stores. In addition, electronic products have short life cycles and few repair options, which also results in a high demand for these products.
Further, since these products are high in cost compared to numerous others and therefore consumers are making sure that aftersales customer support is available, before purchasing, because, many times, the support is not provided by brick-and-mortar stores. This factor increases the sale of consumer electronics products through online channels, thereby driving demand for packaging product, which results into high growth of retail e-commerce packaging industry.
Geographically, Asia-Pacific (APAC) held the largest revenue share in the retail e-commerce packaging market in 2019, and it is likely to maintain its position in the foreseeable future, on the account of its large population, burgeoning e-commerce industry, and people’s propensity toward the adoption of the latest technologies. Emerging economies such as China and India have showcased tremendous growth in the past; as per the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), India will surpass the U.S. to become the second-largest e-commerce market in the world by 2034, after China. This will help in the growth of the industries associated with e-commerce, such as logistics and retail e-commerce packaging.
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Companies Are Using Acquisitions to Strengthen Their Value Proposition
Major players operating in the retail e-commerce packaging industry are using the acquisition model to increase their market offerings and improve their supply chain, so that customers can get the required product on time.
Some of the key players operating in the global retail e-commerce packaging industry are DS Smith Plc, International Paper Company, Smurfit Kappa Group Plc, Mondi Plc, Packaging Corporation of America, Westrock Company, Klabin S.A., Sealed Air Corporation, Orora Limited, Rengo Co. Ltd., Sonoco Products Company, Stora Enso Oyj, and Georgia-Pacific LLC.