Rising Consumer Spending, Manufacturing Activity to Boost US Packaging Demand


Cleveland, OH, February 16, 2022 — Demand for packaging in the US is forecast to advance 3.7% yearly in nominal terms through 2025, according to Packaging: United States, a report recently released by Freedonia Focus Reports. Gains will be supported by increases in consumer spending and manufacturing output. Manufacturers and distributors will continue to use higher-value packaging products, such as recyclable or otherwise environmentally friendly packaging, or “smart” packaging that can be tracked remotely and give status updates on its contents. Expanding e-commerce activity is also expected to bolster demand for packaging. Furthermore, price increases for packaging raw materials will boost value gains. Ongoing research efforts into new packaging materials and methods will be a mixed bag of drivers and constraints, creating new types of premium recyclable packaging, but also increasing downgauging and encouraging use of less expensive materials. However, the long-term trend of outsourcing US manufacturing and packaging operations to low-income economies that offer lower-cost production will continue to restrain faster advances for US manufacturing and industrial packaging.

Demand for packaging in 2021 is forecast to expand 8.6% from 2020 levels. While the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down economic activity, the shifts caused by the pandemic will support additional packaging value and volume gains by:

  • increasing e-commerce activity, as consumers were more hesitant to visit brick-and-mortar establishments
  • supporting elevated sales of food and beverages in grocery stores; retail food and beverages are more packaging intensive than foodservice products
  • expanding use of carryout among all types of foodservice establishments

In addition, increasing labor costs and price inflation of packaging materials such as plastic and aluminum are expected to temporarily boost the price of packaging. Despite packaging firms' desires to maintain price increases, the low concentration of the packaging industry and persistent competition between packaging materials for many products will likely force packaging companies to lower prices once material prices fall from 2021 highs.

These and other key insights are featured in Packaging: United States. This report forecasts to 2021 and 2025 US packaging demand and shipments in nominal US dollars at the manufacturer level. Total demand is segmented by market in terms of:

  • food
  • beverages
  • pharmaceuticals
  • foodservice disposables
  • other markets such as chemicals, building construction, and consumer household goods

Total shipments are segmented by material as follows:

  • paper
  • plastic
  • metal
  • glass and other materials

To illustrate historical trends, total demand, total shipments, the various segments, and net imports are provided in annual series from 2010 to 2020.

Both primary packaging (i.e., packaging used to directly contain a product) and secondary packaging (packaging used to transport items wrapped in primary packaging) are included in the scope of this report. Protective packaging, used to cushion and stabilize items during transit, is also included. Re-exports of packaging are excluded from demand and net imports figures.

More information about the report is available at: