Growth rates for corrugated have dropped from more than 7% annually between 2009 and 2010 to just 3.4% per annum on average from 2011 to 2017, as the industry came out of the global recession.
Two drivers, e-commerce and digital printing, are having an impact on the corrugated industry. E-commerce packaging favors the use of corrugated board with an estimated $20 billion worth of corrugated materials used in this sector. Markets making use of corrugated for e-commerce fulfillment include consumer electronics, books and media products, fashion, toys, hobbies, and sports equipment.
A related trend is the growing adoption of digital printing in corrugated applications. The flexibility of run lengths, savings in set-up costs, and ability to personalize the unboxing experience is leading small and mid-size brands to capture sales and excitement on social media.
When it comes to sustainability, corrugated competes well with other materials for e-commerce delivery.