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How To Select Paper Packaging: 5 Tips To Consider

Person using a cardboard box for packaging

The paper packaging industry has been experiencing massive growth in recent years. This growth can be attributed to multiple factors, including the growing consumer awareness of climate change and global warming that has led to the demand for eco-friendly packaging. 

In addition, the growing retail and e-commerce industries, which experience a rapidly increasing number of online shopping platforms, have escalated the demand for secondary and tertiary paper packaging products. As a result, the paper packaging market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 3.5% from 2022 to 2027, reaching US$ 493.5 billion. This growth rate indicates a potential market for paper packaging materials and products that businesses can leverage to improve profitability and performance. 

Table of Contents
The global overview of the paper packaging industry
5 Tips for selecting the best paper packaging
Key market segments to target

The global overview of the paper packaging industry

The demand for paper packaging products has rapidly increased as an alternative to plastics to reduce pollution and toxin levels in the environment. This demand has been fueled by the growing consciousness among consumers and government policies requiring firms to adopt sustainable business practices.

The rapid market growth and demand are driven by various factors, including:

1) Changes in consumer tastes, trade and government regulations, and corporate standards have led to a paradigm shift towards environment-friendly packaging products.

2) Growing retail and e-commerce industries characterized by the rapid growth of online shopping and delivery-on-demand services have led to high usage of paper-packaging products. 

3) Pressure from the media to embrace sustainable business practices and strict regulations imposed by various environmental protection agencies are pushing businesses to transition to reusable, recyclable paper packaging materials and products.

5 Tips for selecting the best paper packaging

Man carrying packages for delivery

Since packaging materials are critical for protecting products, it is important to know what qualities to look for while choosing between brands. Below are 5 factors to consider when selecting paper packaging products to sell:

Durability and quality

Empty corrugated cardboard boxes for product transportation

Products travel from the production facility or warehouse to the customer through different routes. For instance, some shipping occurs directly from the facility to the end-user customer, while others transport products to retail stores. Regardless of the transportation route, the paper packaging material should ensure that the products arrive to the customers undamaged. For example, corrugated cardboard boxes are suitable for bulky, fragile products or when the packaging is needed to withstand the harshness of direct-to-consumer shipping.

Cost-effectiveness and convenience

Custom luxury jewelry box packaging

Price can significantly influence purchasing decisions. Therefore, selecting packaging materials that balance price and quality is critical. For example, businesses can use high-quality and expensive rigid boxes for expensive items such as smartphones, custom jewelry, luxury cosmetics, or perfumes. However, smaller less-expensive products should be wrapped in cheaper but quality paperboard boxes.

In addition, it is important to consider the convenience of packaging. Examples of aspects to consider for convenient packaging include:

– Weight of the packaging material
– Shape
– Eco-friendliness
– Reusability 

Ease of opening

Easy to open custom folded boxes

The selected paper product packaging should be easy to open. Often, customers get frustrated if they cannot easily open a box or a container to use a product. This challenge may affect their purchasing decision. As a result, most businesses look for packaging designs that are easy to open to improve customers’ unboxing experience. An example is the custom folding boxes characterized by tuck flaps at the top and bottom.

Safety features and tamper-evident seals

Sealed carton box with fragile items

Customers often buy products with evident safety features and tamper-evident seals. Therefore, the selected packaging designs should incorporate these features to increase their appeal to target buyers. Examples to consider are packaging products with extra features, such as container seals and shrinking wraps.

Environmental friendliness

Hands holding recyclable paper shopping bags

Recent years have seen increased consumer awareness, demand for eco-friendly products, and strict government laws and regulations requiring sustainable packaging practices. Therefore, it is essential to consider paper packaging products that are environmentally friendly such as recyclable paperboard products.

Key market segments to target

Before stocking the paper packaging product, it is essential to determine the ideal target customer. This is because different customers will have varying packaging needs depending on the type of products, shipping needs, and local customer tastes and trends. 

Some market segments to consider are;

By industry:

1) Retail and e-commerce industries 

These industries have experienced unprecedented growth in recent years. For instance, in 2021, retail e-commerce sales in the U.S. amounted to US$ 5.2 trillion and are projected to increase by approximately 56%, reaching approximately US$ 8.1 trillion in 2026. These statistics show the staggering potential of this industry as a target market for paper packaging products.

2) Food and beverages industry

Food-grade paper packaging materials are becoming increasingly popular as more food producers and companies embrace more eco-friendly packaging approaches. Switching to paper-based food packaging is perceived as an effective strategy for achieving sustainability goals and reducing the use of plastics. This switch makes the food industry a potential target market for paper packaging products.

By country:

Developed countries lead in the demand and consumption of paper packaging products. The top three markets for paper products are:

1) China

In 2021, China was the leading consumer of paper and paperboard, consuming 132.7 million metric tons. That year, it accounted for 32% of global paper and paperboard consumption. This high consumption rate makes China a potential key target market for paper packaging products.

2) United States

Regulatory and public concerns in the U.S. are prompting companies to focus on and introduce paper packaging products. Most companies are designing recyclable paper board products to meet local demands. Besides, approximately 60% of all communities in the U.S. collect and recycle paperboard packaging.  

3) Japan 

Japan is known to have one of the fastest-growing e-commerce industries in the world. This growth is associated with high demand for paper packaging products, making the country a key target market.


Demand for environmentally-friendly packaging products, as well as pressure from the media and government, are driving global demand for paper packaging. As a result, there is an opportunity for businesses to leverage this growth to increase profitability and productivity. 

However, attracting ideal customers requires stocking products that address their packaging needs. Therefore, it is critical to consider various features, including durability and quality, costs, convenience, safety, and ease of use to accommodate diverse customer needs. 

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