China’s packaging industry will enter a critical period of development, that is, the golden development period to the period when problems occur frequently. Studying the latest global trends and types of driving factors will have important strategic significance for the future direction of China’s packaging industry.
The future of the packaging industry
According to Smithers in the “Future of Packaging: Long-term Strategic Forecast to 2028”, by 2028, the global packaging market will grow at an annual rate of nearly 3%, reaching more than 1.2 trillion US dollars.
From 2011 to 2021, the global packaging market grew by 7.1%, and most of this growth came from China, India, and other countries. More and more consumers choose to move to urban areas and adopt a modern lifestyle, so this promotes the demand for packaged goods. The e-commerce industry has accelerated this demand globally.
Many market drivers are having a major impact on the global packaging industry. Four main trends that will emerge in the next few years:
According to WHO statistics, as of September 2021, the number of people infected with COVID-19 worldwide has reached 210 million, and experts predict that the epidemic that is sweeping the world will continue for 1-3 years. The impact of the epidemic on the global packaging industry is also in all aspects. For example, in countries that are the first to respond to the epidemic, such as China and South Korea, the demand for packaging for groceries, healthcare products and e-commerce transportation will rise sharply. But at the same time, the demand for industrial, luxury goods and some B2B transport packaging may decline. Therefore, the new crown epidemic may become one of the trends that will change the packaging industry.
In addition, consumers around the world may be increasingly inclined to change their shopping habits before the epidemic, leading to a strong increase in the momentum of e-commerce express and other home delivery services. This translates into increasing consumer income on consumer goods, access to modern retail channels, and a growing middle class eager to access global brands and shopping habits. In the United States, where the epidemic continues, online sales of fresh food have increased significantly compared to before the epidemic in 2019, with an increase of more than 200% in the first half of 2021, and sales of meat and vegetables by more than 400%. This is accompanied by increasing pressure on the packaging industry. Because of the economic downturn, customers are becoming more sensitive to prices. Packaging manufacturers and processors need to try their best to win a sufficient number of orders to keep their factories operating.
In fact, since 2017, there has been a growing interest in sustainability, especially in the packaging industry. These situations are reflected in the central government, municipal regulations, consumer attitudes and consumer brands that want to convey their values through packaging around the world.
The European Union is in a leading position in this field by promoting a circular economy, and European governments and people pay special attention to plastic waste. Plastic packaging, as a large-volume, one-time-use item, is subject to strict inspections in Europe. Many strategies in the EU are advancing to solve this problem, including replacing alternative materials, investing in the development of bio-based plastics, designing packaging to make it easier to recycle, and improving the recycling and treatment of plastic waste.
However, it needs to be particularly pointed out that under the current epidemic situation, people’s consideration of hygiene and food safety may become a higher priority. On the contrary, the sustainability of other packaging substrates may not be so important in people’s minds— —At least for now. Consumers and the packaging industry have new awareness and expectations for the health and safety advantages that plastic packaging can provide, which seems to exceed the concerns about recyclability and plastic waste leakage into the environment.
Driven by the popularity of the Internet and smart phones, the global online retail market continues to grow rapidly. Consumers are becoming more and more accustomed to buying goods online. Smithers pointed out that this situation will continue to increase in the next 10 years, and people and businesses will demand more environmentally friendly, healthier, and safer packaging solutions for the transportation of goods. For example, more and more people will consume food, beverages, medicines and other products while going to work or traveling. Therefore, the demand for packaging solutions that can provide convenient and portable packaging continues to increase, and the flexible plastics industry is one of the main beneficiaries.
In addition, with the transition to a single life, more and more consumers, especially young people, tend to buy groceries more frequently and in smaller amounts. This has promoted the growth of the convenience store retail industry and has promoted the demand for more convenient and smaller packaging formats.
As various brand companies around the world continue to seek new high-return, high-growth areas and markets, the internationalization of many FMCG brands is constantly improving. In the next few years, people’s increasingly modern and technological lifestyles will accelerate this process.
Similarly, the globalization of e-commerce and international trade has also stimulated the demand for components with “RFID (Radio Frequency Identification)” tags and “smart” tags to prevent counterfeit and shoddy products and implement better markets. monitor.
Frankly speaking, at the moment, consumers’ loyalty to the brand is not as high as in the past. In order to improve this phenomenon, brands try their best to use various marketing activities to attract customers to participate, and one after another has added the “packaging experience” to their customers’ shopping process, because brand owners want to rely on flexible packaging Designing to provide personalized products, delivering unique selling propositions (USP) and brand ideas, attracting consumers and earning customer loyalty in this “profitable” way can be described as killing two birds with one stone.
Transparency and sustainable marketing also mean that brands can promote their brand value through packaging that combines functionality, performance, and environmental awareness. The process of conveying concepts such as “environmentally responsible products” and “recyclable product packaging” does not incur additional costs or reduce profits. Generally speaking, flexible packaging has a unique design and attractive colors, which can help brands create brand identity, attract consumers’ attention, increase sales, and gain a competitive advantage in a variety of similar products.