Paper-Based Containers in Asia Pacific

June 2021

Asia Pacific is the largest market globally for paper-based containers, and the region with the second-highest growth globally due to low per capita usage in the region. Paper-based containers have wide-ranging applications in industries from packaged food to home care, and despite the economic impact of COVID-19 in the region, particularly in 2020, steady demand for most such industries will drive stable growth for this pack type over the forecast period.

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This report comes in PPT.

Key findings

Folding cartons makes up the majority of paper-based containers

Folding cartons is a common secondary packaging in many industries, from staple foods such as noodles to personal care products like toothpaste. In Asia Pacific, folding cartons makes up 72% of total demand for paper-based containers.

Food applications contribute to most of the demand

Among the various applications, food packaging is by far the biggest contributor to paper-based containers, used in categories such as noodles and ice cream. In addition to folding cartons as secondary packaging, board tubs is another major contributor, notably for noodles. There are also emerging pack formats such as paper-based trays, although their application is still limited in Asia Pacific.

Shift to more convenient product formats affects paper-based packaging

Some shift to more convenient formats has caused a decline in paper-based containers, particularly in home care and personal care, where a shift from powder detergents and bar soap to the liquid format has caused a decline in paper-based containers, particularly in more developed markets.

Relatively stable demand in 2020, despite COVID-19 impact

While some applications, such as usage as secondary packaging for spirits, have taken a hit due to COVID-19, most other applications, such as food, hot drinks and personal care products, are set to continue to grow in 2020, and this will be maintained in 2021 and beyond. While some countries are set to see a slight boost in 2020 due to stockpiling of certain staple categories, this impact is expected to normalise in the forecast period.

Paper-based containers to remain small in the forecast period

Despite growth of the industries in which paper-based containers are used, it is expected to remain small in the forecast period compared with total packaging. Even in some of its biggest applications, such as noodles, it accounts for a small percentage of total packaging. In many of its applications, paper-based containers is facing competition from flexible packaging, not just in Asia Pacific but also in other regions.

Key findings
Asia Pacific leads global market for paper-based containers
Folding cartons makes up the majority of paper-based containers
Spike in demand in 2020, driven by shift to at-home consumption
Folding cartons is gaining share, but only slightly
More mature markets stagnant, China and India leading growth
Southeast Asia dominated by folding cartons
Paper-based packaging largely growing across geographies
General increase across the board, with a few exceptions
Growth in paper-based trays despite its small size
Food packaging is largest contributor, via noodles, biscuits and ice cream
Board tubs: ice cream shows steady growth due to premiumisation trend
Folding cartons: largely sees growth; some exceptions in soap and spirits
Peel-off foil dominates, although other closures growing rapidly
Outside food applications, beverages sees some growth
Upsizing in packaged food in 2020
Outside of food packaging, 0-50 size band sees most application growth
Beverages: decline for cartons in 2020, but expected to normalise
Beverages: China baijiu prompts carton decline; growth in other markets
Food: strongest growth expected in China, India and Vietnam
Food: ready meals in Japan and noodles in Vietnam contribute to strong growth
Beauty and personal care: China expected to decline, growth in Indonesia
Beauty: population growth creates potential in Southeast Asia
Home care: Indonesia expected to drive growth in paper-based containers
Home care: insecticides key contributor to folding cartons in APAC
China – market context
China – competitive and retail landscape
Japan – market context
Japan – competitive and retail landscape
Indonesia – market context
Indonesia – competitive and retail landscape
India – market context
India – competitive and retail landscape
Thailand – market context
Thailand – competitive and retail landscape
Vietnam – market context
Vietnam – competitive and retail landscape
South Korea – market context
South Korea – competitive and retail landscape
Philippines – market context
Philippines – competitive and retail landscape
Malaysia – market context
Malaysia – competitive and retail landscape
Hong Kong – market context
Hong Kong – competitive and retail landscape
Singapore – market context
Singapore – competitive and retail landscape


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