The value of the global packaging services market is forecast to grow from $33.7bn (£24.4bn) in 2017 to $50bn in 2022, according to new research from Smithers Pira.
The print and packaging consultancy’s latest market report, The Future of Business Models and Services in Packaging to 2022, said the market will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 9.5% due to factors including the introduction of new business models and greater vertical integration.
The packaging services analysed and quantified in the study included packaging design, materials testing, contract packing, predictive maintenance and consumer research.
The study noted an increasing trend of packaging converters that offer in-house design services, which it argued is a straightforward way to add value to customers.
D2 Printing joint managing director David Harrison said: “[Having an in-house design facility] means we can start thinking about the creative at the same time as the ‘engineering’ point of view.
“It also gives us the opportunity to select certain materials and finishing processes based on those creative ideas too, therefore presenting the client with a total end solution based on budgets and schedules.”
Other developments the report highlighted as driving global packaging services market growth included the continued rise of e-commerce, the new possibilities offered by smart and intelligent packaging, and digital printing as a maturing technology with the means to personalise products.
But some areas of the packaging sector are using digital print technology more than others, said BPIF Cartons general manager Jon Clark.
“Digital printing has had a very slow take-up in terms of carton-making. And there hasn’t actually been a significant amount of personalisation yet in terms of folding carton packaging.”
D2 Printing produces luxury, promotional, food and giftset packaging and Harrison said the advancement of digital presses has enabled it to produce limited edition, short-run packaging.
“And while personalisation has been limited, the potential is great and will have a massive impact on marketing of the product. Our customers are requesting more personalised products.”
The Smithers Pira study also said the market for materials testing will be shaped in the next few years by new materials, biomaterials, and new technology.
Many packaging printers are already experimenting with new materials to provide customers with a USP.
“Our clients are receptive to our ideas and we proactively source new and interesting materials coming on to the market,” said Harrison.
“Sustainability and environmental factors also play a great part in what our customers desire. Typically, our customers are budget-restricted which places constraints on what they can and cannot use. But what they do want is something that portrays the company’s brand and image in the correct light.
He added: “Shoppers are drawn to visually impactful packaging that may have special finishes like foils, embossing and laminates, making them visually impressive and also tactile.”
Mike Ridgway, director of the Consumer Packaging Manufacturers Alliance, said general growth in the packaging sector globally is additionally being driven by increasing demand in emerging economies in the Far East.
“Once China starts motoring, their demand could be more than Europe put together. And it’s not just China but also Malaysia, Indonesia and India – these countries have such massive populations. A lot of printing companies in Europe are now setting up operations out there.”