In this new COVID-19 landscape, core packaging material suppliers across flexibles, rigids, paper, glass and metal, were very largely showing resilience, having pandemic working practices swiftly in place, from adapted shift patterns (to ensure distancing) to building stock for customers, to safely adjust yet assure on supply. In China, outside the Wuhan region, grocery packaging production continued through restrictions, if at lower output, also following very strict sanitation and distancing safety procedures.
There was a strict lockdown in Hubei province in China from 23 January to 8 April, while other provinces imposed different social distancing policies and partial lockdowns. Movement in and out of the worst-hit provinces was banned until 4 February, with 14 days quarantine required for those moving between provinces.
There was a trend towards smaller packaging towards the end of the review period with this being driven by several factors. Firstly, the average household size fell during the review period with the number of single- and two-person households growing strongly while households of four persons or more declining.
Hot drinks sold in metal is the fastest growing type of packaging thanks to the upgraded demand for quality products. Airtight and waterproof, metal tins preserve freshness against oxygen and humidity.
Thanks to the rapid development of e-commerce, alcoholic drinks manufacturers increasingly saw e-commerce platforms as a key retailing channel towards the end of the review period and launched stores via major e-commerce sites such as Tmall and JD.com, while also increasingly gaining a presence via apps such as WeChat and Alipay.
Convenience remained a key driver of development in beauty and personal care packaging in 2019, with lotion pumps being one of the most popular closures. Lotion pump closures became more visible throughout beauty and personal care packaging in 2019, exhibiting especially rapid growth in hand care, toothpaste and liquid soap packaging formats.
PET bottles were gaining traction in primary retail filled volume in Chinese home care, recording healthy growth in categories such as hand dishwashing and surface care (floor cleaners etc). This was being driven by the premiumisation trend being seen in home care, at the start of 2020.
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