US rigid bulk packaging demand expected to hit $6.7 billion in 2015

March 16, 2011
Demand for rigid bulk packaging in the United States is projected to advance 4.3% per year to $6.7 billion in 2015.

Demand for rigid bulk packaging in the United States is projected to advance 4.3% per year to $6.7 billion in 2015. Gains will accelerate from the performance of the 2005-2010 period, reflecting improved manufacturing output and a rebounding economy.

Additionally, advances will be supported by a shift in the product mix toward larger, higher-value containers offering enhanced performance as well as greater cost-effectiveness than smaller containers with shorter service lives. Value gains will reflect price increases in raw materials, especially plastics. These and other trends are presented in US Rigid Bulk Packaging, a new study from The Freedonia Group Inc, a Cleveland OH-based industry market research firm.

Material-handling containers are expected to experience the fastest growth through 2015, advancing 5.9% annually to $1.1 billion. Gains will be driven by a rebound in durable goods production, and efforts to boost manufacturing efficiency and achieve cost savings. Advances will also be supported by a continuing shift to reusable plastic totes and crates in food and agricultural applications. Rigid intermediate bulk container (RIBC) demand is expected to climb 5.5% yearly to $825 million in 2015, stimulated by a rebound in chemical production as well as cost and performance advantages over smaller, single-use, or shorter-life packaging (eg, bulk boxes, and steel and plastic drums).

Demand for drums, the leading rigid bulk packaging format in 2010, is forecast to increase 3.4% annually to $2.0 billion in 2015. Though trailing the overall average due to the maturity of steel and fiber drums, growth will accelerate from the 2005-2010 performance based on an expected rebound in chemical output. Pail demand will rise in line with the overall industry average, with prospects benefiting from a rebound in construction expenditures. Below-average advances for bulk boxes will result from heightened competition from more reusable packaging forms, such as drums, material-handling containers, RIBCs, and flexible IBCs.

Plastic is the leading rigid bulk packaging material, with steel and paperboard also significant. While all materials will experience a rebound in demand through 2015, the fastest gains are anticipated for plastic. Steel and paperboard consumption will increase more slowly based on the maturity of most steel- and paper-based products.

US Rigid Bulk Packaging is available for $4,900 from The Freedonia Group, 767 Beta Drive, Cleveland OH 44143-2326. For further details, contact Corinne Gangloff by phone 440-684-9600, fax 440-646-0484, or e-mail [email protected]. Information is also on