In its new report, The Future of Retail-Ready Packaging to 2021, Smithers states that global retail-ready demand reached a total of 30.5 million tons of material in 2015 and was worth $62.8 billion.
“Shorter print runs are seen as a key factor driving the RRP market, as more retailers and brand owners are looking to promotional marketing to boost sales, and these promotions result in unpredictable demand for packaging in general, including RRPs, creating a premium on short runs and quick response to orders,” said Stephen Harrod, author of the report
From a geographic perspective, North America and Western Europe will cede market share to Asia-Pacific over the forecast period, with the greatest loss of share occurring in the most mature market of Western Europe. This means percentage growth will be centered in the Asia-Pacific market and Africa, both enjoying over 6% average annual growth from 2016–21.
However, the actual incremental tonnage of material generated in each region over this period shows a slightly different picture, with nearly half originating in Asia-Pacific and a further third from the emerging markets of Eastern Europe and South/Central America. The late adoption of RRPs in North America is driving the higher growth in this region, while Western European demand is maturing and slowing.
The changing demands for RRP have been a contributing factor in the development of digital print high-quality, high-speed, wide-format digital printers for post-print corrugated packaging, many of which were unveiled at drupa 2016. These developments lend themselves to the production of corrugated RRPs especially, many of which require shorter print runs with faster changeovers and greater flexibility in setup and design processes.
Shorter print runs are seen as a key factor driving the RRP market, as more retailers and brand owners are looking to promotional marketing to boost sales, and these promotions result in unpredictable demand for packaging in general, including RRPs, creating a premium on short runs and quick response to orders.
There is still stiff competition between materials, as well as pack formats in RRP, which creates a healthy commercial environment. Competition is also leading to dispute about the environmental benefits of different types of RRP. This is particularly pertinent in the fresh produce market, where corrugated producers claim their product is more beneficial to the consumer and discourages bacterial contamination; in contrast sellers of plastic formats insist their product is more environmentally friendly as it is reuseable, and thus has a smaller carbon footprint.