North America is the world's largest consumer of packaging, and is characterised by such packaging giants as International Paper, Tetrapak, Reynolds Group, Ball Corporation and Owens-Illinois. Since a brief dip in 2009, the North American packaging market has recently been growing steadily.
Although market sentiment is still cautious in the region, the North American packaging industry is expected to grow by, on average, 1.4% annually above inflation levels to reach $186.0 billion by 2017. Smithers Pira examines the key areas of this growth, and the main challenges to the market in the next four years.
1. Mexico to continue impressive growth
Of the three North American countries, Mexico is forecasted to have the highest percentage of growth in both the short and mid-term. In 2011 the largest market share of the North American packaging market was by the US, with 83.3% ahead of Canada with 9.8% and Mexico with 7.0%. The US saw the biggest negative impact from the global economic downturn.
Mexico is expected to gain on average 3.1% per annum over the next four years to 2017. Particular areas of growth in the Mexico packaging industry include soft drink beverage packaging, meeting the needs of customers seeking both versatility and sophistication from their packaging.
2. Paperboard to lead market share
Although paperboard suffered a steeper decline than most other packaging materials during the recession, especially in the US, it has recovered quickly and returned to pre-crisis levels. In 2011 in North America the largest share of packaging consumption was paperboard, taking 33.7% of the total, and corrugated packaging claimed the largest share of North American paperboard packaging sales.
Corrugated packaging was not only the fastest-growing paperboard sector, increasing by 4.7% during the year 2011, it also accounted for the largest share of board consumption at 64.3%. The US is forecast to maintain its 2012 share of North American board packaging sales, growing on average by 0.9% per annum above inflation levels to reach $51.9 billion in 2017.
Future of the North American Packaging Market