Demand for material handling containers is forecast to grow 2.3% annually through 2023 to $1.2 billion, according to a new study from the Freedonia Group.
In unit terms, demand is expected to reach 20.2 million.
Gains will be supported by sustainability concerns, as reusable containers decrease costs and contribute to source reduction efforts.
Moreover, the increased popularity of omni-channel retail has provided a boost to demand for material handling containers in grocery and department stores where employees fulfill online orders by picking items from the store for delivery or pickup. These locations commonly use carts of plastic totes to keep orders separate.
However, the reusability of material handling containers will also prevent further growth for new units.
Another factor preventing faster gains will be the trend toward lean manufacturing, which will cause manufacturers to cut down on excess product, resulting in lower demand for storage and shipment packaging.
Demand for all types of rigid bulk packaging (pails, drums, bulk boxes, material handling containers and rigid intermediate bulk containers) in the U.S. is forecast to increase 2.4% annually to $7.3 billion in 2023.
Growth will be driven primarily by an increased output of chemicals and pharmaceuticals.
Healthy construction activity will boost the production of paint, coatings, and other building materials that are packaged in pails, drums, and similar containers.