Protective Packaging Market

2021 Analysis and Review: Protective Packaging Market by Material Type- Foamed Plastic, Paper, and Plastic for 2021 – 2031

Protective Packaging Market Snapshot

Driven by increasing emphasis on optimizing supply-chain management, the protective packaging market size is expected to reach US$ 26.55 Bn in 2021, as per latest insights by Future Market Insights (FMI). The protective packaging demand outlook remains positive with the market forecast to rise at a CAGR of 4.8% from 2021 – 2031.

By the end of the forecast period, the market is expected to surpass US$ 42.4 Bn. The demand for flexible protective packaging will continue rising through the assessment period. As per protective packaging market insights, flexible packaging will remain top-selling product, accounting for 70% of sales through 2031.

Key Points Covered in Protective Packaging Market Survey

  • Market estimates and forecast 2014-2031
  • Key drivers and restraints impacting market growth
  • Segment-wise, Country-wise, and Region-wise Analysis
  • Competition Mapping and Benchmarking
  • Brand share and Market Share Analysis
  • Key Product Innovations and Regulatory Climate
  • COVID-19 Impact on Protective Packaging Market and How to Navigate
  • Recommendation on Key Winning Strategies

2014-2020 Protective Packaging Market Insights Compared to 2021-2031 Forecast

Rising manufacturing activities across diverse industries worldwide has fueled the production, sales, and demand for protective packaging solutions on a global scale. Protective packaging solutions made from foam, plastic, and paper are witnessing significant demand from the industry players to meet the requirements of an extensive range of products and long supply chains.

Supported by their stability, strength, and exceptional cushioning characteristics of protective packaging solutions, the target market is will rise at 4.8% CAGR between 2021 and 2031 in comparison to the 2.7% CAGR registered during 2014-2020.  

Manufacturers and suppliers across the several end use industries are emphasizing on reducing overall the shipping and logistics costs in their supply chains. The efficient and timely shipping of industrial and non-industrial goods to end users saves notable financial capital of manufacturers.

Protective packaging solutions are playing a crucial role in shipping and logistics by providing superior security through packaging. This rising focus on efficient shipping of goods with lowered costs is one of the vital factors that uplifts the sales of protective packaging solutions in the market.

Another factor that supplements the demand for protective packaging is a rising preference for paper-based options. Prominent packaging manufacturers, especially paper-based packaging manufacturers are persistently putting efforts to enhance its sustainable packaging product range to reduce carbon footprints.

Paper based protective packaging solutions such as paperboard protectors, shipping containers and molded pulp packaging solutions used in industrial and non-industrial packaging are 100% recyclable and can be made from 100% recycled cardboard, which eliminates contributions to landfills.

These protective packaging solutions are designed to offer stability, strength, and insulation to meet the physical requirements of supply chains. Shifting inclination of end use industry players towards such sustainable and affordable protective packaging solutions is driving the market growth substantially.

Will the Demand for Faster Conveyance Supplementing Push Protective Packaging Sales?

In the current market scenario, it is very crucial to have packaging solutions that deliver industrial goods in a timely manner, without damage. From industrial manufacturing parts to several food and non-food items, these products require precise packaging solutions.

Protective packaging solutions are predominantly used in industries for transporting goods for long and short distances. Protective packaging solutions used in these industries are made of plastic, paper, and foam which can be flexible and semi flexible in structure, with a sturdy base and flat rectangular structures primarily used for supporting, storing, and shipping fragile and non-fragile goods.

This property of protective packaging solutions allows faster conveyance of goods. Protective packaging solutions provide a stable structure for standardizing common goods and protecting them from tipping over.

What are the Consequences of COVID-19 on the Global Protective Packaging Market?

The global packaging industry has witnessed a significant rise in the sales of specific types of packaging which are associated with healthcare and pharmaceuticals sectors. Imposed lockdowns and reduce demand from various end use sectors has reduced the demand for protective packaging solutions.

Furthermore, limited and restricted trade activities across countries is impacting the sales of protective packaging solutions. Nevertheless, recovery from the COVID-19 crisis with rapid vaccination drives across American and European countries is estimated to help in the recovery of the demand for protective packaging solutions through 2021 and beyond.

Country-wise Insights

How is China’s Automotive Sector Contributing to Revenue Generation?

According to the FMI study, China is expected to account for over 50% of the APEJ through 2031. In recent months, China has emerged as one of the fastest recovering nations from COVID-19 pandemic.

Industries such as automotive, electronics, and chemicals in China are reflecting a fast rate of recovery. The demand for protective packaging in China from the automotive industry is driving sales to a significant extent.

As per the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA), the total production of vehicles in China was around 19 Mn units in 2020, which is more than most European and American countries. Protective packaging solution such as dunnage bags, shipment containers, and edge protectors are predominately used in the automotive sector for shipping fragile and non-fragile auto parts.

Why is the Demand for Protective Packaging Increasing in the U.S.?

The U.S. market is expected to rise at nearly 4.5% CAGR over the forecast period. As per the report, the U.S. is projected to display strong demand for a variety of protective packaging solutions during the upcoming years.

One of the key factors behind the increasing demand for protective packaging solutions in U.S. is the significant presence of prominent packaging giants such as the Sealed Air Corporation, Sonoco Products Company, WestRock Company, Greif, International Paper Company, Coveris Holdings S.A and others who produce and sell a wide range of protective packaging solutions as per industry requirements.

These leading manufacturers are adopting strategies such as acquisitions and product launches to maximize sales and increase market penetrate. For instance, in 2018 Sealed Air Corporation, one of the leading protective packaging manufacturers acquired AFP, Inc. a leading fabricator of corrugated, molded, and wood packaging solutions.

Why is Germany’s E-Commerce Sector Important to Protective Packaging Manufacturers?

By 2021, Germany is anticipated to account for over 22% of sales of protective packaging solutions in Western Europe. The global e-commerce sector is one of the major demand drivers for protective packaging solutions for shipping of products sold online the with required safety measures.

The German e-commerce sector has experienced massive growth and penetration is recent years. As per EuroCommerce (European federation for retail & wholesale) the German e-commerce sector has witnessed nearly 10% growth in terms of turnover in 2019 and also ranks first in overall logistics performance.

This rising economic growth of the German e-commerce sector is creating demand for protective packaging solutions on a massive scale. Protective packaging manufacturers such as Smurfit Kappa Group, DS Smith Plc, Schur Flexibles Holding GesmbH, Nefab Group and others operating in the Europe market can target the highly potential German E-commerce sector to maximize the sales of protective packaging solutions.

How is the Organized Retail Sector in India Augmenting the Sales of Protective Packaging?

As per FMI analysis, India will account for ~24% sales of protective packaging in the APEJ region by the end of 2031. The Indian retail sector emerges as one of the dynamic and fast-paced markets.

This strong growth of the Indian retail sector is mainly driven by entrance of foreign retailers and small players in the Indian market. The retail industry is a consistent demand generator for packaging solutions for a variety of consumer and non-consumer goods.

As per the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the Indian retail sector was worth of US$ 883 Bn in 2020 and projected to reach as US$ 1.3 Tn valuation in 2024. The industry is also contributing to the 10% of the Indian total gross domestic product (GDP).

This rapid penetration and growth of Indian retail sector is projected to create a mammoth demand for protective packaging solutions during the forecast period.

Category-wise Insights

How are Flexible Protective Packaging Solutions Set to Fare?

Based on product type, flexible protective packaging holds the lead, accounting for nearly 67% of the market share in 2021. Characteristics such as cushioning, insulating, void filling, and light weight is driving its demand and popularity among the end use industries.

Flexible protective packaging solutions are available in recyclable material content. Incorporation of bioplastic to manufacture flexible protective packaging solutions has improved its recyclability, sustainability, and sales.  

Why Does Plastic Hold a Dominant Share in the Protective Packaging Market?

Plastic will remain a preferred material for manufacturing a wide range of protective packaging solutions, accounting for over 51% of revenue generated by 2031. It also is expected to remain preferred material used for multilayer flexible packaging solutions.

Affordable pricing, easy availability, and outstanding protective packaging characteristic are some of the factors supporting adoption. Furthermore, increasing recyclability in plastics and recycling facilities all across the globe are projected to further raise the demand for plastic as a raw material.

What is the Key Function of Protective Packaging Solutions?

Protective packaging solutions are used for storing and shipping a wide range of fragile and non-fragile goods. These packaging solutions fill the voids between the packages and reduce the impact of jerky movements during transport and handling, preserving the integrity of goods while shipping in long supply chains.

Consequently, void fill as function, is dominating the global protective packaging market capturing nearly 26% of the market share by the end of 2031. Protective packaging solutions such as air pillows, bubble packaging, and dunnage bags will contribute to developments through the coming decade.

Competitive Landscape

Manufacturers are pushing for the development and launch of flexible and rigid protective packaging options as per end use industry requirements. Furthermore, these packaging manufacturers also associated with industry players to select materials that are expected to optimize protections for goods.

This includes minimizing the required packaging volume while maximizing the protection it offers, enabling manufacturers to ship more parts per square meter, thereby making financial savings.

  • Sealed Air Corporation, a leading packaging manufacturer has worked with automotive manufacturers to select a packaging material that is expected to enhance the protective packaging process. These packaging manufacturers are generating hefty financial profits by offering protective packaging solutions.
  • In June 2021, Soteria Flexibles announced the acquisition of Redi-Bag Inc. a leading manufacturer of plastic and polyethylene film packaging for seafood and produce packaging applications.
  • Intertape Polymer Group Inc. announced an investment of US$ 20 million to expand existing facilities and operations for curb-side recyclable paper mailers, which is expected to create around 135 new jobs.

Scope of Report



Forecast Period


Historical Data Available for


Market Analysis

USD Million for Value Thousand Tonnes for Volume

Key Countries Covered

US, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Germany, U.K., France, Italy, Spain, Russia, Poland, China, India, Australia & New Zealand, GCC Countries, North Africa, and South Africa, Japan

Key Segments Covered

Material type, Product type, Function type, and Region

Key Companies Profiled

  • Sealed Air Corporation
  • Crown Holdings Inc
  • Sonoco Products Company
  • Winpack Ltd
  • Smurfit Kappa Group
  • DS Smith Plc
  • WestRock Company
  • Schur Flexibles Holding GesmbH
  • Greif
  • International Paper Company
  • Nefab Group
  • Cascades Inc

Report Coverage

Market Forecast, Company Share Analysis, Competition Intelligence, DROT Analysis, Market Dynamics and Challenges, and Strategic Growth Initiatives

Customization & Pricing

Available upon Request

Key Questions Answered in the Report?

  • What is protective packaging market size?

    Driven by the growth of e-commerce and the manufacturing sector, the global protective packaging market is expected to surpass US$ 26.5 Bn in 2021, and it is expected to reach US$ 42.4 Bn in 2031.

  • At what rate did the protective packaging market expand in the last five years?

    According to FMI’s analysis, protective packaging sales have grown at 2.7% CAGR between 2016 and 2020.The market’s valuation stood at over US$ 26.2 Bn in 2020.

  • What are the key trends shaping the protective packaging market?

    There is an increasing focus on sustainable materials in the market. Companies are currently focusing on logistics cost reductions from different packaging formats. Besides this, e-commerce sales will generate massive demand for the foreseeable future.

  • What are the key factors driving protective packaging market demand?

    Key factors fuelling protective packaging solutions demand include increasing global manufacturing output, increasing use of e-commerce channels, and higher adoption of void filler packaging solutions.

  • What is the North America protective packaging market outlook?

    Demand in North America will continue to rise, backed by increasing sales in the U.S. and Canada. As per FMI, North America currently holds more than 27% of the global protective packaging market in 2021. The market will rise at 4.7% between 2021 and 2031.

  • Who are the leading companies in protective packaging market?

    Sealed Air Corp., Crown Holdings Inc., Sonoco Products Company, Winpak Ltd., Smurfit Kappa Group, DS Smith Packaging Limited, Cascades Inc., Packaging Corporation of America, Kureha Corporation, and Coveris Holdings S.A. are the top ten companies in the market.

  • What is the cumulative share of top five companies in the protective packaging market?

    According to FMI analysis, over 10.5% of the market share is covered by Smurfit Kappa Group, Sealed Air Corporation, DS Smith Plc, Sonoco Products Company, and WestRock Company.

  • At what rate will protective packaging sales increase in Western Europe?

    Western Europe is expected to account for 20.8% of the global protective packaging market in 2031. The market is expected to expand at with a growth rate of 3.4% CAGR.

  • Which are the top countries driving demand for protective packaging?

    China, India, GCC Countries, South Africa, and Brazil have emerged as leading countries aiding the demand for protective packaging.

  • What are the key statistics for protective packaging market in Japan?

    Japan is estimated to hold a market value share of 6.7% of the global protective packaging market in 2021.

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    Yes, the research has been conducted by expert analysts of Future Market Insights, through a combination of primary research and secondary research. To know more about how the research was conducted, you can speak to a research analyst.

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    Future Market Insights follows a methodology that encompasses the demand-side assessment of the market and triangulates the same through supply-side analysis. This methodology is based on the use of standard market structure, methods, and definitions. Request a detailed methodology.

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  • What are the sources of secondary research?

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Protective Packaging Market by Category

By Material Type:

  • Foamed Plastic
  • Paper
  • Plastic

By Product Type:

  • Foam Protective Packaging
  • Flexible Protective Packaging
  • Rigid Protective Packaging

By Function Type:

  • Wrapping
  • Void Fill
  • Insulation
  • Cushioning
  • Blocking & Bracing

By Region:

  • North America
  • Latin America
  • Western Europe
  • Eastern Europe
  • APEJ
  • MEA
  • Japan

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