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North American packaging market remains wary about the future

"The North American packaging market reached a value of $169.1 billion in 2011, slightly higher than the $164.6 billion achieved in 2007, just proceeding the economic recession which began in late 2008. Because of the precarious economy, the packaging market value in North America dipped to $150 billion in 2009 but then resumed a steady, albeit modest, increase each year following.


"The anticipated market value for 2012 is $173.4 billion—an increase of 2.6 percent over the prior year—and for 2017 that forecast should grow by 1.4 percent above inflation levels to $186 billion. Despite this growth, the region remains slightly cautious because of market and political uncertainty, as well as fluctuating raw materials prices."


This analysis comes from the new report from Smithers Pira, The Future of Packaging in North America to 2017.


Here are a few other highlights of the research:


• Packaging materials market share led by paperboard
In North America in 2011, the largest share of packaging consumption was paperboard packaging, at 33.7 percent of the total. Rigid plastic followed at 20 percent, flexible packaging at 19.9 percent and metal packaging at 17.7 percent. Wood and glass materials accounted for 4.1 percent and 4.5 percent respectively. For the first time, rigid plastic packaging surpassed flexibles by growing 8.4 percent in 2011, compared with flexible packaging at a 7.3 percent rate. All materials exhibited growth in 2011 and all regained their pre-recession levels, except for wood packaging. Flexible and rigid plastic packaging is forecast to grow 2.3 percent and 2.6 percent per annum, respectively, accounting for 20.7 percent and 21.5 percent of the total North American market by 2017.


• Economics, demographics, market trends paint a unique portrait
Although North American industrial packaging—which includes foodservice and bulk packaging, among others—took a steep decline in 2009, that segment has been in a strong recovery and will experience a growth rate close to that of consumer packaging in coming years, specifically 1.4 percent CAGR from 2012 to 2017.


But the fastest growth will be seen in consumer healthcare packaging, at 2.9 percent per year over five years.


In 2012, the primary consumer packaging segments tallied $59.7 billion for food, $29.4 billion for beverages, $8.5 billion for healthcare and $6.0 billion for cosmetics/toiletries. Industrial/other packaging reached $58.8 billion in sales.


This report provides an overview on the status of the packaging industry in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, reviews historical and current market sizes and trends, delineates the market and technology trends over the last few years and forecasts demand for the five-year period to 2017. It provides a comprehensive view of the current and future trends of the North American packaging industry and provides exhaustive and incisive information crucial to decision making. More than 400 exclusive tables and figures show how the trends influence each national market.


For more information about the 300+-page study, which sells for $6,300 (£3,950 or €4,750), contact Heather Adams at 207-781-9632 or visit



Smithers Pira Future of Pkg chart





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