Global Cartonboard Market Outlook 

  • The cartonboard market will be influenced by the growth in emerging regions like Asia and Latin America, which is expected to grow around 4-5 percent between 2017 and 2020
  • The demand for cartonboard and folding carton is rising because of increasing demand for processed food, health care products, beverage, CPG, frozen/chilled foods, especially in the emerging economies and it is expected to be same in the future 
  • North America and Western Europe are well matured regions, showcasing lower growth rates of 1–2 percent, characterized by slow moving demand, closure of mills and more consolidation


 Global Cartonboard Market Overview

  • The global cartonboard demand is expected to increase at a CAGR of 2-3 percent until 2019 
  • Asia is driving the demand for cartonboard and is the region with huge growth opportunities. Asia’s market share is close to 50 percent, with China accounting for over 50 percent of the Asian consumption 
  • The major trends that are driving the growth of cartonboard worldwide are consolidation and automation. Some of the large cartonboard manufacturers, including WestRock and Graphic Packaging, have adopted robotics for automating the process of manufacturing, printing, placing heavy goods on the conveyor belt, and shipping the goods

Global Cartonboard End-use Market

  • The healthcare, food and tobacco end markets are the major driving force for the growth of cartonboard market in future 
  • The increasing demand of packaged products among the consumers is driving the consumption of folding cartons 
  • Suppliers are focusing on eco-friendly and unique packaging to meet the demand of end-users
  • The confectionery and dry food are facing substitution pressure from plastics. Even then, the carton packaging is not affected due to sustainability

Cartonboard Market Growth Drivers

Rise in Disposable Income

  • Demand for consumer non-durables has a direct bearing on the demand for cartonboard. Demand from the consumer non-durables sector is expected to increase, along with the disposable income. Per capita income is on the rise in developing countries, especially in the BRICS region. Hence, demand for cartonboard in these regions will be driven by an increase in the disposable income


  • A large working population increases the demand for packaged food products, which use cartonboard for packaging. Due to historic population growth projections in emerging markets, and tepid projections in western markets; demand for cartonboard is also expected to increase

Industrial Production

  • The increase in industrial production will raise the demand for packaging. Industrial production in global markets is expected to increase, driven mainly by Asia and Latin America, which will drive the demand for cartonboard

Ageing Population

  • The demand for pharmaceutical products is expected to rise due to an aging population in western markets. There is also the need for a more sophisticated packaging, which makes handling easy for the elderly, and is child resistant

Health Awareness

  • Cartons are a preferred packaging component for consumers that favor a healthy lifestyle. The cartons are made from renewable resources and is highly adopted in the healthcare and F&B markets.

Raw Material Cost

  • Pulp, which maybe virgin or recovered, is one of the major components in the total cost of cartonboard, as it forms 60–70 percent of the total board cost and has an impact on the price. Price fluctuations for raw materials may differ from market to market
  • Cost of raw materials would be higher for emerging markets such as Asia, as they predominantly import it from the West

Labour Cost

  • Labor cost is another key component for cartonboard pricing, and is low in Asia and LATAM, compared to NA and Europe
  • Labor cost forms a significant portion of the overall price of cartonboard, hence, prices could vary, depending on the regional availability of labor
  • Asian labor costs are expected to increase significantly in future, and this might affect cartonboard/box prices in the long run

Energy and Chemical Cost

  • Energy is a significant driver in determining the final price of the cartonboard. Some companies leverage its financial stability by having its own chemical plant, as an auxiliary to their paper and pulp business 
  • Major paper/board mills generate their own sources of energy, however, they also source power from grids
  • Wood pulp mills generate power from the byproduct while producing pulp–black liquor

Demand and Supply Dynamics

  • Supply-demand is one of the key and foremost drivers of price in the cartonboard industry. A significant increase in demand from the end user segment will lead to manufacturers announcing price increases, even without an upward movement in the cost
  • Supply disruptions like down time, mill closures by manufacturers or natural disasters would lead to shortages or a tight supply, attributing to price fluctuation. Similarly, weak demand could lead to price declines
  • Key Drivers: Downtimes, closures, new capacity, order backlogs, lead time

Exachange Rate and Inflation

  • Exchange rates would impact Export and Import prices. Strengthening of the dollar against the domestic currency would have a significant impact on prices within the domestic market 
  • Domestic inflation will lead to an upward pressure on prices, such as the situation in Brazil