The evolution of store formats and the opening of transition economies will drive increased demand for retail-ready and shelf-ready packaging according to the latest research from Smithers.

Smithers’ latest market report, ‘The Future of Retail-Ready Packaging to 2024’ forecasts that the value of the global retail-ready packaging market will increase from $60 billion in 2019 to over $77 billion by 2024, with a CAGR of 5.2%.

Retail-ready packaging continues to evolve. Having begun with simple shrink-wrapped corrugated trays, it has expanded to include increasingly sophisticated concepts and designs to engage consumers on the shop floor. Demographics and the expansion of western-style retailing into new countries will drive much of the growth in this segment; as will the evolution of convenience and discount format stores.

With shifts in end-use demands increasing across the five years to 2024, the report identifies the following key drivers and barriers for the global retail-ready packaging industry:

Retail trends – The advantages of retail or shelf-ready formats remain fundamentally the same for both retailer and brand owner, but new technologies will entrench these further across the forecast period.

Convenience and discount model stores – Convenience stores and discount supermarket chains are increasingly popular in more developed economies. Their basic layouts and typically lower staffing levels are stimulating the consumption of retail-ready packaging, albeit in some instances in less sophisticated forms.

‘Westernisation’ of food shopping in developing markets – In transition economies, China is a leading adopter of Western shopping trends. Many suppliers are embracing this phenomenon by incorporating more Western products into their SKUs.

Interactivity – Retail-ready packaging plays an important role in establishing and enhancing brand image and message. It creates an opportunity for the brand owner to interact with their consumer, both visually and technologically. Innovation in digital print and finishing systems is now offering a suite of options for tailoring content to specific events, store locations, or customer preferences.

Standardisation of shelving and pack formats – The efficiency of retail-ready packaging systems is enhanced by the adoption of standardised pack sizes, which require less time on machinery set-up, fewer die-cut variants and, ultimately, improved efficiency for retail store employees.

Retail-ready packaging driving flexible packaging adoption – In a move away from designs that use peg bars to hang pouches, major retailers are encouraging the use of flexible packs in retail-ready packaging to minimise labour costs.

Demand for environmental performance – Consumers are demanding transparency from brands about their environmental activities and the impact of their products and packaging on the climate and the environment.

Internet and e-commerce – The rise of online shopping and e-commerce continues, hence there is some downside for retail-ready packaging as more shopping leaves retail outlets.