Honeycomb structures are naturally occurring or man-made that have the geometry of a honeycomb. These are used between two thin sheets to make materials for honeycomb packaging. Honeycomb structure aids the material used in packaging in reducing density and increasing shear and compression properties. This enables in minimizing the material usage and maximizes strength. Honeycomb packaging is 100% ecofriendly, lightweight, shock absorbent and does not change in dimensions with temperature variations. It provides advantages such as easy handling and transportation, easy disposal, and low cost.
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Increasing demand for sustainable packaging by various industries such as automotive, furniture, consumer goods, and others are the major growth drivers for honeycomb packaging. Furthermore, the growing demand for e-Commerce sector owing to increasing utilization of smart phones is propelling the growth of packaging industry, which in turn has augmented the growth of honeycomb packaging.
Increasing demand for flexible packaging is the major challenge to honeycomb packaging market. Stringent government regulation by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other regulatory bodies on the recyclability and environment hazards of the material used in flexible packaging such as plastic and aluminium is expected to boost growth of the honeycomb packaging market as honeycomb packaging is made from environment friendly material.
The honeycomb packaging market is segmented on the basis of packaging type as exterior packaging, interior packaging, pallets, and others. Exterior packaging is the largest packaging type segment in the market as it provides enhanced safety in product transportation and is easy to handle.
The honeycomb packaging market is segmented on the basis of end-use industry as automotive, consumer goods, food and beverages, furniture, industrial goods, and others. Protective packaging is an important part of the automotive supply chain. Honeycomb packaging is the effective method for packaging bulky products and automotive parts as it offers enhanced safety.
North America was the dominant market with a market share of 34.79% in 2016. This is attributed to various initiatives taken by government agencies such as US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce packaging wastage. According to the United States Environment Protection Agency (EPA), packaging materials form 23% of the landfills. The government has set regulations to reduce packaging wastage and this is driving demand for environment friendly packaging materials such as honeycomb packaging. The significant growth in e-Commerce has also augmented growth of honeycomb packaging For instance, according to the US Census Bureau, the e-Commerce sales accounted for 7.3% of total sales among the sales through various distribution channels such as retail, supermarkets and others in 2015 and increased to 8.1% in 2016.
Asia Pacific is the fastest growing market in the forecast period. This is attributed to growing demand for packaging from automotive and e-Commerce sectors in emerging economies such as India and China. For instances, according to Automotive Mission Plan 2016–26 by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) and Indian Government, the Indian automotive OEM market is expected to grow from 10% to 15% to reach US$ 16.5 Bn by 2021 from US$ 7 Bn in 2016 and generate upto US$ 300 Bn in annual revenue by 2026. According to India Brand Equity Foundation, the total online spending by the consumers is estimated to increase by 31% Y-o-Y to reach US$ 135.8 Bn by 2018 and cross border shopping was valued at US$ 9.1 Bn in 2016 and is estimated to increase by 85% Y-o-Y in 2017.
Honeycomb packaging market was valued at US$ 9.64 Bn in 2016 and is projected to register a CAGR of 6.5% in terms of revenue, during 2017–02025.
The major market players operating in the honeycomb packaging market are ACH Foam Technologies, BASF SE, DS Smith Plc, Huhtamaki Group, Lsquare Eco-Products Pvt. Ltd., Packaging Corporation of America, Sealed Air Corporation, Sonoco Products Company, Smurfit Kappa Group, and WestRock Company.
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The honeycomb packaging market is highly competitive with the major market players adopting various strategies such as merger and acquisitions, collaborations and new product launches to gain an edge in the market. For instance, in April 2015, Smurfit Kappa Benelux, which is a subsidiary of Smurfit Kappa, acquired Mexican and European operations of Hexacomb, which is a subsidiary of Packaging Corporation of America. Also, in March 2017, Automated Packaging Systems launched a new AirPouch FastWrap, which is a cost effective packaging solution as compared to other wrappings such as pre-filled and paper bundled bubble and foam sheeting.