10 Critical Packaging and Printing Statistics You Need to Know (2024)


After becoming aware of upcoming trends in product packaging, you might be looking for more reasons to review your current investments and determine the direction you must takewhether you sell products, design boxes, or supply packaging or the materials to make them.

Researching your niche or local area is necessary to stay in step with your competitors. You can tell how patronized a business is in your city, town, or neighborhood by counting the pairs of hands or the number of households—and trash bins—that end up having its product packaging. 

However, learning about the packaging industry’s status on a global scale can prepare you for the long haul and spark new ideas.

Packaging suppliers and their customers continue to face cost reduction and pricing challenges. Nevertheless, current statistics show a healthy demand for custom product packaging. Let’s discover what makes it a thriving business worldwide.

1. North America corners the largest share of the global custom packaging market.

north america corners largest share of global custom packaging market

The market value of custom packaging worldwide was pegged at $43.88 billion in 2023. Growing at a predicted compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.32%, the sector will be worth $63.07 billion by 2030. Meanwhile, the global packaging design services market had an estimated value of $24.63 billion in 2023. 

Analysts forecast it to be worth $32.42 billion by 2030 based on a CAGR of 4%. On the other hand, packaging printing has a projected CAGR of 4.2%. By 2026, the value of food, beverage, personal care, and cosmetic sectors is predicted to rise to $433.4 billion. Let’s look at the status of packaging design services by region:

  • The bulk of supply and demand for packaging design services comes from North America, with a global market share of over 35%. The high number of consumer goods suppliers, a well-established packaging industry, and strong branding practices fuel this region’s growth.
  • Europe ranks second (25%+ market share), driven by its growing eCommerce and design innovation inspired by strict sustainability regulations.
  • Meanwhile, Asia-Pacific’s (APAC) rising consumer base and rapid urbanization puts the region in third place (20%+ market share). Branded packaging is as important as the product to its social media and online sales-obsessed citizenry. However, industry analysts foresee APAC’s contribution to the global market rising to 41% due to eCommerce growth in China, India, and Japan.

2. Food and beverage make up the largest end-user segment.

food and beverage make up the largest end-user segment bakery goods confectionery noodles pasta

The global food and beverage packaging market was $385.1 billion in 2023. Bakery goods, confectionery, noodles, and pasta held the largest market share. Demand for packaged food, such as pre-cut vegetables, microwaveable snacks, and other ready-to-eat meals, has been forecast to remain high. 

Consumers expect packaging that allows on-the-go consumption (single-serve beverages and snacks) and extends the shelf life of food items so they can stock up. Food safety and hygiene are the other top priorities. However, more food manufacturers will turn to flexible packaging solutions. Drinks in plastic bottles will continue to grow popular due to convenience and recyclability.

3. Paperboard is still the most widely used packaging material.

Smithers’ “The Future of Global Packaging to 2028” report says that flexible plastics and paperboard are currently the most preferred packaging materials. However, paperboard (folding cartons, corrugated board, and liquid paperboard) takes up the larger chunk of the two, accounting for 31.8% of global packaging material value. 

eCommerce and new premium sustainable paper alternatives to plastic are the primary growth drivers. Moreover, paper will continue to be the top option for soft cheeses, flour, sugar, fast food wrapping, medical packaging, and metalized cigarette bundling.

4. The demand for sustainable packaging will push the market’s value to $285.3 billion in 2024. 

demand for sustainable packaging increasing in market value and among young consumers

The industry grew 4.9% between 2019 and 2023 amid the growing preference for biodegradable and compostable solutions. Younger consumers and urban dwellers are among its top users in America. Bags and sacks dominated this segment with a 25.4% share. Safety consciousness during the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the demand for “green packaging.” North America is expected to dominate the global market share in sustainable packaging (25%), followed by East Asia (18.5%) and Western Europe (16.4%).

American sustainability views vary by demographics. 

In America, 43% of respondents to a McKinsey survey gave environmental considerations high importance. However, prioritizing this issue varies based on age and location amid inflation concerns:

  1. Sustainability is a “very or extremely” important factor among millennials (39%) and Gen Z (37%) consumers compared to baby boomers (18%).
  2. Urban residents (40%) also consider the environmental impact of their purchases more than those in rural areas (21%). However, 2/3 of the McKinsey poll participants admitted they have little or no confidence in determining which product packaging is recyclable.
  3. A survey by TIPA Compostable Packaging showed that U.S. concerns about plastic waste from packaging vary between the East and West Coast. In all, 84% of 1,500 respondents find the issue disturbing.



New York


% willing to use compostable packaging as an alternative




% believe eco-friendly alternatives to traditional plastic packaging are important to daily life




% willing to pay 5% more for their preferred plastic alternative (food products)




% buy fresh produce in alternative plastic packaging




% buy eCommerce goods in sustainable packaging




U.S. consumers offer to pay lower “premiums” for sustainable packaging. 

About 50% of consumers expressed willingness to pay more for eco-friendly packaging, but only by 1% to 3% more. The report emphasized that sustainability has taken a back seat to product affordability, quality, and convenience in buying decisions.

importance of packaging characteristics to consumers affordability quality convenience

However, according to a New York University study, products tend to increase their appeal among American shoppers when brands add two sustainability claims to core attributes (such as health benefits, financial savings, and community benefits).

5. Luxury packaging’s market value may reach $17.77 billion in 2024.

Two-piece boxes were the most widely used among luxury rigid box types. Electronic consumer goods, perfumes, cosmetics, and jewelry fueled demand for this format, which accounted for over 31.4% of the market share. 

Meanwhile, boxes with magnetic closures are expected to capture 45% of the global market in 2024. Besides their premium look and feel, their appeal comes from ease of use and enhanced product protection. Asia-Pacific will reportedly be the epicenter of luxury packaging growth as the region continues to experience a surge in new fashion and cosmetic product launches.

More high-end brands are adopting sustainable materials. Brands will continue to align their packaging with their buyers’ heightened environmental consciousness by going plastic-free. For example, Apple offered its Apple Watch Series 9 in fiber packaging. The tech giant announced that it will fully replace its plastic packaging with a fiber-based alternative by 2025.

6. Pressure-sensitive labels led the label printing solutions market.

According to Smithers’ “The Future of Labels and Release Liners to 2028” report, pressure-sensitive (self-adhesive) labels bagged the largest (almost 45%) market share by volume. The majority—nearly 40%—of label suppliers used flexographic printing for production in 2023. 

Such printers are known for their exceptional quality even while operating at high speed, making them a reliable choice. Moreover, they can work on various materials, including metal, glass, and other non-porous surfaces. Digital label printing solutions will achieve a CAGR of 6.39% between 2023 and 2028 to record a USD2.32-billion incremental growth. 

The top end-user segment for these labels consisted of alcoholic drink manufacturers (almost 30%). At the same time, the chemicals sector has also contributed to its growth amid the increasing need for labels that can withstand harsh environments and prevent counterfeiting and tampering.

7. Consumers clamor for more transparency in product labels.

consumers seek transparency in product labels and packaging for authenticity

Authenticity is critical. In particular, the call for transparent food product information has grown stronger among grocery shoppers from 2018 to 2023 (from 69% to 76%). Consumers are pushing for “clean labels” that clearly and honestly state the product’s identity, net weight, nutritional facts, ingredient list with allergen and health claims, and manufacturer’s address.

In fashion, two-thirds of shoppers want more accountability about product sourcing, manufacturing processes, and labor practices. As a result, brands have started incorporating QR codes and digital tags into their labeling to provide such information.

Shoppers are also wary of “greenwashing” or sustainability claims. A Sustainable Brands and Ipsos survey revealed that 67% of consumers are suspicious of businesses using environmental and social messages to entice them to buy. Meanwhile, a NielsenIQ report says 77% of consumers will stop buying from “greenwashed” brands.

8. Smart packaging enhances product traceability.

smart packaging enhances product traceability

As mentioned earlier, digital tags or smart packaging allow businesses to monitor food, chemical/medical products, and fragile items that need to maintain freshness and temperature requirements. Examples include QR codes, RFID, and NFC chip-enabled labels. With a projected CAGR of 4.5%, this $24.6-billion segment is estimated to reach $38.3 billion by 2033.

This segment’s growth drivers include the developing eCommerce market, the rising elderly population, and increased demand for superior logistics, especially in emerging economies experiencing rising tech modernization. These labels provide authentication and promote product safety in case of product recalls. Brands are also using smart custom labels or tags to learn more about buyers and offer interactive experiences.

9. The adoption of packaging automation accelerates.

adoption of packaging automation and technology accelerates

Automation levels have increased in 91% of North American packaging companies in recent years to reduce errors, increase speed, lower labor costs, and improve product quality. Autonomous mobile robots can transport products and materials around warehouses. 

Meanwhile, larger and more stationary robots handle labeling, sealing, and palletizing. Another trend is the deployment of collaborative robots or cobots to work alongside human staff. They’re programmed to do repetitive and dangerous or strenuous tasks.

SkyQuest sees Asia-Pacific as the fastest-growing hub based on International Federation of Robotics data, which shows that 63% of worldwide industrial robot sales come from this region. China and Japan are among the leading players, particularly in the fiercely competitive food packaging sector. Facts & Factors researchers valued the global packaging automation market at $68.95 billion in 2023. They foresee it growing to $124.53 billion by 2032 at a CAGR of 7.67%.

10. Brands and suppliers embrace AI for production efficiency and to determine the “ideal package.”

Market.us predicts that AI in global packaging will rise at a CAGR of 11.26% from USD2.67 billion in 2023 to USD7.33 billion by 2033.

Machine learning (ML) and AI optimize workflows.

The ML segment took 47% of the market share with its role in enhancing operational efficiency. Companies are integrating AI into their production for quality monitoring and control. Predictive maintenance is another innovation in packaging operations, helping production heads and owners save costs by detecting anomalies or errors, thereby preventing failures. AI can also streamline inventory management to ensure optimal stock levels. At the same time, it can determine the most efficient routes to hasten the delivery process and minimize transport costs.

Marketers and designers tap AI to acquire and retain clients.

Meanwhile, the packaging design and customization segment captured a 33% share with the rise in personalization and innovative solutions. Ultimately, AI-powered tools can help businesses track and analyze shopper behavior, patterns, and preferences in real time. The results of the analysis can then help them tweak packaging to suit their buyers’ preferred design, from color and size to messaging. eCommerce experts say that applying these insights can help boost sales by over 70%.

Combine Data-Driven Decisions with Custom Packaging Expertise 

Combine Data-Driven Decisions with Custom Packaging Expertise

An awareness of market and consumer data on product packaging allows you to properly harness the power of these motivational triggers to purchase. 

We can’t focus on design innovation and production tools alone. If we desire business longevity, we must stay informed—not just to mitigate workflow risks. We should use data to discover opportunities for customer engagement, exploration, and growth. 

Armed with the facts we shared above, you can reflect on your current business strategy more objectively and chart a resilient future.

Refine Packaging is the top choice for 1000s of small businesses, Inc 5000, and Fortune 500 companies alike when it comes to custom packaging boxes. With super fast production times, affordable pricing, and a sky’s the limit attitude, we’ll help you turn your custom packaging into a competitive differentiator. Contact us and a dedicated packaging specialist will guide you through every step of the custom packaging process without breaking a sweat.  

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