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HomeBusinessE-Commerce Packaging to be $100 Billion by 2027: Smithers Report

E-Commerce Packaging to be $100 Billion by 2027: Smithers Report

10 June 2022: Demand for corrugated, paper and flexible plastics, mailers and protective packaging for direct-to-consumer delivery is continuing to grow and diversify according to – The Future of E-commerce Packaging to 2027 – a new in-depth market data report from Smithers.

The market has boomed over the past two years, with total value rising from $34.7 billion in 2019 to a projected $63.6 billion in 2022 – equivalent to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.0% for the five years since 2017. This is due to the surge in online deliveries linked to Covid-19 lockdown orders, and while some trade has returned to physical retail, significant volumes will remain in the virtual space.

Smithers’ analysis tracks the latest material innovations and growth potential in this sales channel by material and product type across all world regions. Even as the pandemic peak begins to flatten, demand is far from saturated. Smithers forecasts the market worldwide will expand at a 9.8% CAGR through to 2027, pushing total value to $101.7 billion.

The main beneficiaries are and will continue to be, corrugated board manufacturers, with these formats holding a 28% market share in 2022. Sustainability concerns, standardisation and the wider deployment of bespoke fit-to-product technology will help it grow its share within this generally booming sector. And multiple paper and pulp companies have developed dedicated board grades, and service lines to capitalise on this market.


  • The clothing, footwear and accessories sector is now the most important segment in e-commerce, and the fastest growing with a CAGR of 12.8% forecast through to 2027
  • The second fastest growing segment will be electrical and electronic goods, with deliveries especially strong in developing economies
  • One of the major changes during the pandemic has been an expansion in the range of goods consumers want and are able, to order online. E-commerce food sales, in particular, is seeing accelerating demand – the third fastest growth rate over the forecast period – stimulating the market entry of new concepts including insulated packs and protective solutions for last-mile delivery
  • Demand for packaging for online personal care and cosmetics will be slower, but this is indicative of a market space where business models are already well advanced toward e-commerce and omnichannel models
  • Books and electronic media (CDs, DVS, Blu-rays, etc) – were central to the earlier success of e-commerce businesses, especially Amazon. These have one of the worst outlooks for 2027, reflective of declining reading rates and the greater availability of online streaming services.

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