Impact of E-commerce on North American Paper Packaging Markets

Will paper packaging demand keep booming along with online retail growth, or will the "e-commerce boost" weaken in coming years? This study – the first of its kind available from any source – is an exhaustive analysis of how North American e-commerce shapes the corrugated packaging space.


The e-commerce/mail order retail sector uses 7 times as many boxes per dollar spent, compared to traditional brick-and-mortar retail logistics. But even as e-commerce spending keeps rising, containerboard demand growth slowed in the first half of 2019. Should the containerboard industry prepare for a weaker “e-commerce boost” going forward?

Prepare for any contingency with the Impact of E-commerce on North American Paper Packaging Markets. This first-ever study of this timely topic provides:

Essentials about e-commerce’s impact on corrugated packaging

  • Detailed breakouts of spending by merchandise type
  • Historical data showing impact on North American containerboard and corrugated box markets, broken out into retail and wholesale
  • E-commerce market statistics that are most relevant for packaging

27 risk scenarios to help model the future of the market

  • Forecasts of e-commerce for both the US and Canada, modeling three different scenarios for the evolution of three key variables:
    • Economic conditions
    • E-commerce/mail order share of relevant retail spending
    • Correlation of e-commerce and packaging demand
      • Along with presenting three different scenarios for each of these factors, the Impact of E-commerce on North American Paper Packaging Markets supports comparative analysis among them. This enables the analysis of 27 different risk scenarios for the future of the containerboard market in North America – a powerful analytical tool that can’t be found anywhere else.

E-commerce giants are working to use less corrugated

The intensity of box usage per dollar of retail spending has increased in recent years, mostly due to the growth of e-commerce. However, this relationship – of growing online sales supporting growing box-usage intensity – is likely to deteriorate going forward.

Slowing growth, alternative packaging materials, and other threats

Current trends that threaten containerboard demand growth include:

  • Overbox reduction
  • Primary packaging redesign
  • On-site custom box conversion
  • Corrugated alternatives such as plastic mailers
  • Retail store fulfillment

The Impact of E-commerce on North American Paper Packaging Markets provides expert evaluation of these trends – backed by the most exhaustive data and analysis available from any source.

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