Key drivers and trends in corrugated packaging

Internet Shopping

Internet shopping as a trend continues to expand rapidly, and is fuelled by the increasing use of smartphones and tech-savvy customers. This represents an opportunity for brand owners to introduce two different packaging types, one geared to traditional store display, featuring high quality graphics, and one designed for internet sale. This is, in essence, nothing more than a brown shipping container. This has a positive effect on packaging demand, as an individual item now consumes an amount of corrugated material in its own secondary distribution pack.

Amazon has been prolific in this category and the growth in demand for this type of pack has seen the introduction of specialised systems such as Rengo's new Gemini packaging system which is aimed at improving efficiencies in the internet fulfilment market. This equipment works by automatically measuring product size and adjusting the pack size accordingly, with only corrugated board and shrink film required. Significant improvements in transport efficiency are achieved with the reduction of space in the final pack, and the use of shrink wrap obviates the need for additional cushioning materials.


The fact that internet shopping is reducing the need for high quality printed secondary packs is being offset by the growing demand for RRP (retail ready packaging), point of sale displays and merchandising units. These items are under pressure to provide the shelf appeal and brand exposure that brand owners are looking for.

Therefore, we have seen the introduction of new product lines in the containerboard market, such as Store Enso's MediaLiner, launched in 2012. These kinds of products provide enhanced graphic properties allowing the reproduction of photorealistic images on RRP and POS (point of sale) applications in particular.

Additionally, the developments of new marketing techniques by tech-savvy brand owners tend to incorporate smartphone apps and QR codes. This provides an opportunity for corrugated converters to work with digital print specialists in order to develop the necessary technologies to meet the demands of this new type of interactive marketing.

More details about the future of corrugated packaging can be found in Smithers Pira report The Future of Corrugated Board Packaging to 2019.

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Paper 26