The global cardboard box and container manufacturing industry is expected to gain $452.9 billion in revenue in 2012, according to a new report from IBISWorld. Over the past five years to 2012, industry revenue has declined at an average annual rate of 0.7%. Industry revenue was adversely affected by the global downturn, with decreased demand from manufacturing sectors in developed markets, such as the U.S. and Europe, outweighing strong performance in China, India, and other emerging markets. Although the U.S. was previously the world’s leading producer of cardboard, in 2002 China became the top industry producer and currently accounts for an estimated 33.9% of global production. The U.S. is in a distant second, with 15.4% of the world’s production, according to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization.

Approximately 15,843 companies operate in the global cardboard box and container manufacturing industry, representing an average annual growth of 0.2% over the past five years. The majority of the industry’s companies operate locally, providing cardboard and other packaging to companies within a 150- to 200-mile radius of their facilities. As a result, the industry is fragmented, with the world’s top companies accounting for just 8% of the global industry’s revenue.

Over the five years to 2017, the industry is expected to experience moderate growth. During the five-year period, growth in developing markets is expected to outpace the U.S. and European markets. This will be primarily due to rising packaging requirements as improving wages cause increases in per capita consumption. However, the industry will face continued competition from plastic packaging, which is the second-most used form of packaging.

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