According to a new study from The Freedonia Group, demand for corrugated and paperboard boxes in the USA will rise 2.8 per cent annually to over $35 billion in 2007. Advances will be stimulated by an expected upswing in shipments of non durables, which account for more than three-quarters of total demand. Continued strength in the food and beverages market will drive gains, as will an improvement in durable goods markets, which tend to use larger, more costly boxes. Gains will also be fuelled by the on-going shift toward greater usage of printed and other higher value box types.

Corrugated and solid fibre boxes accounted for 71 per cent of US box demand in 2002, with folding boxes accounting for most of the balance. Corrugated and solid fibre boxes will offer the best prospects through 2007, the study predicts, spurred by an expected rebound in the manufacturing sector and benefiting from the increased emphasis on upgraded box materials and graphics. Folding paperboard boxes will rebound from their low base in 2002, although faster growth will be restrained by competition from other packaging media and the elimination of some boxes due to source reduction efforts. Demand for set-up boxes, a small, specialty niche, will remain flat due to their high cost. Inroads by less costly imports will lead to continuing shipment declines.

Advances will be driven by expanding food and beverage shipments and the proliferation of processed, prepared foods that use visually appealing packaging to stimulate sales. Durable goods markets for boxes will be boosted by healthy prospects for machinery and equipment shipments, and an improved outlook for durables in general. The fastest gains are anticipated in the relatively small retail and carry-out market, fueled by robust growth for internet shopping.



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