World Boxboard Study 2015

A detailed analysis and forecast of the global boxboard market through integrated regional models and a unified grade-naming convention.

World Boxboard

The 2015 World Boxboard Study includes:

  • A global grade classification system to enable a holistic view of the global market
  • Grade-level demand, supply and trade analysis of the global cartonboard market
  • Global trade patterns for each major grade
  • Analysis of world regions that will experience the strongest growth during the next five years
  • Analysis of the impact on traditional and high-end cartonboard suppliers as new capacity enters the global market
  • List of upcoming projects by region
  • Regional cost curve analysis for select grades and regions (US, Western Europe, China), along with integrated pricing analysis
  • Revised history from 2012 study, including improved estimates on the polycoated board market sizing

In spite of global economic turbulence, demand growth for boxboard has advanced steadily, averaging roughly 2.5% annually, over the last decade. Growth has been especially strong in developing markets with expanding consumer classes and rapid population growth. Development in these areas drives demand for packaged merchandise, processed foods, and other consumer and industrial goods which use boxboard. Meanwhile, demand growth is stagnating or in decline in highly penetrated, mature markets such as North America, Western Europe, Japan and Oceania.

Despite solid demand growth for recycled boxboard grades over the past decade, virgin boxboard consumption has expanded more rapidly. Steady consumption of liquid packaging and food service board has driven this demand. These grades have fared well in both developing and mature markets alike. Recycled boxboard end-uses, mainly folding cartons, have been more susceptible to substitution by alternative packaging materials such as plastic. This has created some headwinds compared to virgin boxboard grades. Fiber limitations in many regions, has also led to the rapidly escalating trade of virgin boxboard from fiber rich regions of North America and Europe to fiber poor regions.

Increased capacity may outpace global demand

The major exception to market trends has been the rise of China as a global player on the boxboard stage. A tremendous volume of capacity from the region has entered the market over the past five years, despite its virgin fiber limitations. China has gone from being a net importer of boxboard to net exporter of over one million tonnes of boxboard annually and will continue to grow. The global economic activity is expected to accelerate in the coming the years. In response to this, world boxboard demand is forecast to accelerate in line with global economic growth.

Despite the strong demand prospects, aggressive capacity expansion in China has dramatically impacted European and North American boxboard exporters. China has limited their access to the most lucrative exports markets in the past several years and could continue to do so. There is also great speculation regarding the potential market impact of several large boxboard projects scheduled to startup in Europe over the next two years. How this plays out will largely be determined by how fast demand will grow to absorb the tremendous volume of boxboard that will continue to hit the global marketplace.

The 2015 World Boxboard Study provides thorough analysis of forecasted global demand, supply and trade patterns through RISI’s rationalized grade classification system. The study includes insight into how these developments will unfold and implications for the coming years.

World Boxboard

Who will benefit from this service?

Boxboard Producers Worldwide

  • Understand the demand and supply outlook for global boxboard, and how this will affect trade flows for the major boxboard grades.
  • Get a global look at the competitive landscape for boxboard by looking at global and regional cash cost analysis for select grades and how this compares with boxboard pricing.
  • Understand where new projects are coming from and whether this capacity poses a threat to existing business.

Financial Analysts

  • Understand market sizing, distribution, and major projects coming online that are essential for evaluating an ever more globalized boxboard market.
  • Gain a strong grasp of the supply and demand dynamics which are driving the regional and global boxboard markets.
  • Detailed subgrade analysis not typically available or regularly provided by RISI.
  • Pricing and cost analysis by select region.


  • Understand how demand and supply dynamics will likely affect the pricing environment for various grades of boxboard regionally and worldwide.
  • Learn where new capacity will be entering the global marketplace and what grades will see capacity expansions.


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