Urban city view

Urbanisation Radar: paperboard demand

​What kind of packaging solutions do urban consumers want, and how is urbanisation affecting the demand for paperboard? 


​The megatrend of urbanisation presents demands on the efficient, safe and sustainable distribution of food and goods – resulting in a growing need for consumer, retail and on-the-go packaging. Growth is especially strong in emerging economies, where the increase in average income, consumer spending and modern retail contribute to a greater need for packaged goods and foods.

Almost 70% of the world’s population is expected to live in cities by 2050. These urban consumers navigate in an omni-channel environment and require versatile packaging solutions for various channels. Bustling cityscapes offer abundant options for consumers, and tighter living quarters combined with declining car ownership contribute to the need for smaller, on-the-go packaging.

Urban consumers are often more educated and wealthier, and their purchasing behavior is guided by higher quality requirements, with regards to, for example, food safety, health and environmental friendliness. While catering to these needs, the packaging industry can play an important role in supporting the sustainable development of megacities, by creating innovative and sustainable packaging solutions.

Strong growth globally

It has been estimated that the global paperboard market will grow on average around 2% annually in the long term. The strongest demand for cartonboard will be seen in the developing economies of Asia, whereas in North America and Western Europe, where the urbanisation rate is already high, growth in packaging demand is somewhat slower.

Globally, the demand for folding boxboard, food service board, and both coated and uncoated white kraftliner is expected to grow above the average rate. In the overall demand structure, fresh fibre paperboard will remain the dominant grade in North America and increase share in Western Europe, with recycled grades expected to see meaningful growth only in emerging markets.

The e-commerce effect

Since some 80% of e-commerce goods are packaged in corrugated boxes, the constantly growing online retail market is expected to boost the demand for containerboard especially in Western Europe and North America. Innovative and sustainably disposable solutions are popular among the urban dwellers, to whom convenience is essential.

Besides answering to the basic requirements of functionality and sustainability, packaging will have to adapt to a new set of demands placed by the online shopping experience, emphasising visual appeal and branding. Online retailers are actively exploring premium packaging solutions, aiming to further enhance customer loyalty. 

Read more about the topic:
Urbanisation Radar: an introduction
Urbanisation Radar: the retail of packaged consumer goods
Urbanisation Radar: online retail

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