Breaking News for the Future of Corrugated

custom corrugated boxesThe Corrugated Forecast is Looking Bright

According to a press release earlier this morning, the corrugated packaging market is projected to increase by 5% from now until 2020. 5% may not seem like much, but when the industry was already valued at 150.1 billion in 2014…well, the technical term is a “boom.”

But why? Why would the oldest, most basic form of packaging be forecasting such big numbers in a world of smart packaging and luxury customizations?

Maybe because cardboard is timeless. Almost literally. A classic packaging product, corrugated cardboard is still the most functional. Thanks to its fluted walls, cardboard boxes provide lightweight-but-durable cushion for a variety of products big and small. It can be printed upon for clarity of product. It ships flat, which is a huge space (and money) saver. Thankfully, it’s also eco-friendly, being recycled itself and recyclable in turn. Yes, corrugated cardboard really is a miracle material when it comes to custom packaging.

But, seriously, why the boom?

It’s hard to believe in a world of smart packaging–interactive, trackable retail boxes–the cardboard box could even compete. After all, in their basic form, corrugated cardboard boxes are sort of the ugly duckling of packaging. However, it’s hard to compete with its shippibility. For starters, it ships flat and in bulk which is nearly priceless to business owners. Once assembled and filled, that same lightness that makes it cheap to ship incoming keeps shipping rates low on the outgoing.

Tuck TabOne Piece Folder

And, if you hadn’t noticed, e-commerce is booming like never before. There’s your answer: corrugated packaging is riding the wave of internet sales. Think Amazon. Think Loot Crate. Think any of those ______-of-the-Month clubs. Everything from craft beer to razor blades have a monthly shipment service these days, and corrugated cardboard packaging is keeping the bulk of these products safe in their travels.

While many online subscription clubs have embraced the eco-friendly look of cardboard, they are not without personalization. Many of these companies rely on YouTube unboxings for their advertising. Often times, companies like Loot Crate and Nerd Block will send out sample products to be opened live in YouTube clips–a hybrid of testimonials and demonstration videos. That on-the-spot Christmas Morning feel of seeing the products opened for the first time really makes the packaging the star of the show–or at the very least, the opening act. Now more than ever, custom cardboard boxes for retail need to be unique and visually appealing. Will presentation packaging see the same boom?

E-Commerce Growth Expected This Holiday Season

 

Online marketers need to brace themselves for a good holiday season. That’s according to a panel of digital marketing experts who predict online sales will grow 12% in 2011.  Holiday sales are considered to be sales that take place in the months of November and December. 12% growth would match the same growth online sales experienced last year. In fact, online sales have grown every year since 2005 with the exception of 2008 where it was down 4%.

Most news regarding the global economy is doom & gloom. So how can these experts expect growth in an unforgiving recession? A high share of online consumers are affluent. These consumers are apt to spending a good amount of discretionary income when the stock market is healthy. But even stocks have been lagging and inconsistent this year. All of the quotes tied to the experts who predict a 12% growth in online sales this season allude to these points. Nevertheless, they’re still convinced that it’s going to be busy for ecommerce this holiday season. It’s worth noting that the economy was definitely an issue last year when ecommerce growth was 12% as well. We will hope for the best and know soon enough.  

 

Libraries Nationwide Experiencing Growth

Speculation of the demise of public libraries has been a talker over the last handful of years. With everything going digital (music, movies, books) it was at least clear that if libraries were going to make it through this transitional period, they would have to be willing to change with the times. The widespread opinion by many was that libraries wouldn’t survive long term but would start to see a decline in overall patronage. If that is the case, we’re not seeing evidence of this yet.

Take Wethersfield Library in Connecticut for example. According to their library director, overall patronage last year increased. More than 193,000 people visited the library in 2010- an average of 550 visitors each day. That’s a 4.5% increase from the previous year.  Quite an astonishing number considering what libraries are apparently up against. In addition to their physical visits to the library, 180,500 people visited the library’s website.

In the past year, Wethersfield Library also had 54,800 questions to reference staff (18% increase from the previous year) and borrowed 363,900 items from the library to patrons. 17,00 people attended programs offered by the library, ranging from job-hunting support groups to children’s reading events to movie screenings.

The increased use is similar to increased patronage in other libraries nationwide. The American Library Association has noted that since the recession began, libraries across the country have seen increased use by people who have fallen on hard times or who are seeking jobs and visit libraries to use the free computer to look for work and apply online.

Seemingly, the recession has had a big hand in these nationwide increases for libraries. For example, people have been dropping magazine subscriptions to save money while going to their local library to borrow magazines. While the economy might be a temporary explanation for these increases, it will be very interesting to see where the state of the public library is in another 5-10 years, assuming we climb out of the recession.

Are You Prepared For the Green Consumer?

Yes, we’re somewhere in the midst of the worst economic downturn in history. For obvious reasons, consumers have taken more interest in searching for value in the products that they purchase. Because of this, price is playing a major role in the buying decisions for more consumers than in a stable economic environment.

Despite the weakness in the economy, sustainable packaging is growing and the green consumer is not going away! Recent statistics show that only 11% of consumers have heard the phrase sustainable packaging. Of those 11%, half of them thought sustainable packaging meant durable packaging. However, when we analyze consumer trends,  we find that these statistics will not hold true for very long. In fact, they were probably outdated as soon as they were published.

Consumers are becoming more educated on sustainability and its role in packaging. While still looking at price, consumers are increasingly interested in their personal impact on the environment and are demanding more from manufacturers. Many consumers believe that products have too much packaging. Because of this manufacturers are downsizing and lightening the protective covering that goes around their products. Those manufacturers are seeing benefits from these efforts by realizing material savings and increased demand from green consumers.

Most observers don’t expect any changes in the growth of sustainable packaging, no matter what the state of the economy is. If we’re seeing growth through these difficult times, the importance of sustainability to the consumer is fairly obvious. What might change is the demand for more clarity around the messaging. As consumers are becoming more educated, they’re going to be looking closely at what is really sustainable. We might expect to see more discussion about codes, standards, and oversights. Consumers are going to hold manufacturers more accountable for making sure that they’re staying true to their message.

More info:
Packaging Digest

MPI message to Meeting Planners: Measurement Is Key To Success

Speakers set a more subdued tone than in past years at the opening general session of Meeting Professionals International’s World Education Conference on Sunday. MPI officials and keynoters alike took the stage at Salt Lake City’s Salt Palace Convention Center with the message that meeting planners need to “speak the language of business.”  Speakers urged listeners to learn from the devastating economic climate, which has resulted in hundreds of meeting cancellations.

The following are some of the advice given to meeting planers by the three keynote speakers:

  • Meetings bring people together and when people connect, business get done
  • Innovation and value must go hand-in-hand when planning meetings.
  • Meeting planners must be able to measure the value they offer and to measure the results their meetings facilitate.
  • Meeting planners must make a shift in thinking that includes measuring ROI in addition to creating an experience.
  • Adding technology and social media gives attendees a voice.
  • Most importantly, all meeting planners must be able to articulate why meetings help business succeed.

Group Meeting Planning
Speaking of technology, MPI offered a virtual access pass to planners unable to attend the meeting.  This pass allowed access to the general session, 2 keynote sessions and 12 other live streaming sessions.  Pass holders also have the ability to go back and download the audio from any of the other sessions 24 hrs after they are presented.  The passes were offered at a fraction of the cost of attending the event live.  These passes are a good example of innovating technology to add value to meeting participants.

Information found from: http://meetingsreview.com/news/external/21202


The Library: More Than Just a Place with Books

Libraries are becoming a shelter and hangout place for more people than just students and book-lovers.  You see people carrying backpacks overflowing with all of their possessions.  Others are washing up in the bathroom.  Some city libraries are starting to seem like a day homeless shelter.homeless poor economy libraries

Especially in this economy, more and more people are becoming homeless and don’t know where to turn.  They seek shelter at the library in the day for warmth in the winter and air-conditioning in the summer.  So is this a problem or an opportunity?

Some people are turned-off when they see homeless people in dirty clothes at the library.  Different people react differently.  Some are scared.  Some are annoyed.  Some are compassionate.  Instead of turning away, we should be glad they are looking to the library for help.  With the resources available, they can learn many things through reading, get help writing a resume, and set-up an e-mail account.  These are just a few things that could help them get on track to finding a job.  But there are guidelines that have to be followed for health and safety concerns.homeless poor economy reading in library Libraries will not allow themselves to turn into homeless shelters.  They should be a place where everyone can learn and use the resources available, not a place to goof around or sleep.  As long as the rules are being followed, everyone should have the opportunity.

With the economy the way it is, libraries are busier than ever.  People, whether homeless or not, are turning to the libraries free resources for learning and entertainment.  And with the growing number of users and higher circulation rate, a larger selection is needed, as well as durable, replacement packaging that will last.

Going Green: Just a Fad or Here to Stay?

Since today is Earth Day, we thought we would focus on the growing “green” trend.  Sunrise Packaging, like many companies and individuals, has been talking a lot about this ambiguous, yet wildly popular, phenomenon dubbed “green”. Sunpack and others have new “green” products and everyone is asking how they can make small everyday changes to become more “green”. Is this new environmentally-friendly mindset simply the result of high gas prices or is it a permanent societal change?

environmentally-friendly economy costsExperts will give you mixed answers because it is difficult to predict. Threats to our environment are real and it is possible that people are making lifestyle changes that will be permanent. On the other hand, we have seen this kind of trend before, again coinciding with high gas prices. When the prices went down, the environmentally friendly fad passed and Americans went back to driving their gas-guzzlers as much as they ever did.

Back in the 1970’s the prices for oil and gas rose and so did concern for the environment. These concerns lead to the development of Earth Day and government subsidies for alternative energy. By the 1980’s gas prices were down, Ronald Reagan cut the subsidies and concerns for the environment took a nose-dive. Is it possible that we are experiencing the same cycle today?reduce reuse recycle replenish restore earth day

Biologists and experts can provide endless evidence to attest to the fact that the planet is in trouble. For some, this is enough to convince them that the “green” wave is not just a fad, but rather a lasting change. Others will say that the planet has been in danger for a long time and there are still a lot of people who could not care less because they cannot SEE the damage. They are only changing their ways because of the economy or the gas prices.

Whether they change their ways for the environment or for their wallets, people are changing their everyday choices and actions to reflect a more environmentally friendly stance. Many people are making seemingly permanent lifestyle changes – changing their driving habits, the brands and products that they are loyal to, where they buy their food, etc. Such lifestyle changes, if maintained could indicate that this “green” mentality is not just a fad.

Even if “green” is a fad or a trend, many permanent changes may result from its existence. Interest in the environment faded in the 1980’s but we still recognize and celebrate Earth Day. The changes that will last into the next generations will be those that are implemented in ours. While the notion of “green” may be just a passing trend, it is likely that the government will make political and economical changes that will stick. This will likely come in the form of legislation.

“Going green” is motivating people to help the environment. Many experts believe that this trend will only gain momentum and grow, providing a brilliant opportunity for marketers to connect with their consumers and for consumers to positively affect their environment. Only time will tell if the eco-friendly movement will be a passing fad or a lasting change.

Libraries Take On New Roles

The job losses and pay cuts experienced by many people throughout the country have brought on new roles for librarians. Libraries are no longer just a place to check out books, music, and videos for free. They are a place for the unemployed to go seeking comfort and help during hard times.

An article in The New York Times described thelibrary books librarian roles new stresses put on libraries.

Without as much money to spend on leisure, more and more people are turning to the libraries’ free resources and entertainment. Many libraries are seeing as much as 10 to 30 percent increases in patronage, as well as double digit increases in DVD, CD, and audio book circulation. This means that a larger media selection is needed, as well as durable, replacement packaging.

Libraries are serving a whole new crowd of users. There have been 40 million visits to New York libraries over the past year, which is the largest amount ever over 12 months. With the unemployment rate up to 8.5% the highest since November 1983 these people are looking to libraries for job-seeking help.

library computers job placementMany libraries are now offering job-search desks, help writing résumés, and workshops to bring hope to the jobless. Librarians are being trained to help with these specific needs, as well as receive counseling from therapists. They are learning how to deal with the stress of dealing with sometimes very emotional job-seekers. At times, depressed and discouraged people may even try to talk to librarians for emotional support. This can be difficult for librarians. In addition, there has been an increase of theft and violence at libraries has brought the need for added security and support.

More than ever before, people are turning to libraries for entertainment, job-help, and emotional support. People are coming in to write a résumé that may have never used a computer before, or may not know how to read or write in English. Librarians need to be trained, in order to perform these tasks for the new roles in which they are placed. With the added help and support, frustrated job-seekers can be given hope for new possibilities.

Green Packaging Plays Vital Role in Purchasing Decisions

Having green packaging allows you to help the environment, but is it worth it financially for your company? We have been hearing a lot more about being green and environmentally-friendly the past few years from numerous companies and industries. Is it just a bunch of talk, or do people really care about the environment? How significant is sustainable packaging to consumers?

purchasing green environmentally-friendly packaging
(Picture from The Pohly Company)

Scott Young and Perception Research Services studied packaging and the environment with extensive research over two years. What they discovered is that most important to shoppers making purchasing decisions is the overall package appearance and functional concerns. Once these needs are met, they will factor in the environmental considerations. This makes green packaging the deciding factor for shoppers trying to pick between two products with equal appearance and functionality. Similarly, shoppers do not want to buy an eco-friendly item that looks and feels “cheap”. Therefore, it is important companies to offer both eye-appealing and functional packaging, as well as packaging that is good for the environment.

One more thing that Young discovered was that only 11% of shoppers thought that they knew what “sustainable packaging” was, and only about half of those actually knew what it meant. It is important for companies to educate consumers about what being environmentally-friendly means and use terms that they will understand.

A.T Kearney also performed a study and came to the conclusion that environmentally-friendly companies performed much better than their competition over a three-month and six-month period and did not have “value erosion”. Even in our struggling economy, green companies are performing above-average in the financial markets.

The eco-friendly trend does not seem to be disappearing anytime soon. Environmentally-friendly packaging does play a vital role in purchasing decisions and is helping companies beat out their competition.

What Can Companies Turn To In A Falling Economy?

With the downfall of the economy and the growing financial crisis, things are looking troubling for many companies. Companies are finding they have to tighten their budget, which brings the unemployment rate up to 6.1%. Many consumers lack of confidence in the market.

packaging in a falling dollar economy weakNot only do consumers have less money to spend, but also food and energy costs are rising. This reduces the amount of consumers’ discretionary income significantly. Economists are expecting the worst holiday sales since the recession of 1991.

With the increasing number of problems, marketing becomes drastically more important. In a shaky economy, marketing is crucial to differentiate a company’s product above their competition.

Companies, however, need to enhance the image of their product without having to drastically increase its cost or price. Creativity helps show the customer what the product is all about. It adds the “boom factor”, which sets the product apart from the competition. This is necessary to sell the product in a declining economy.

One of the ways the creativity personality of the product can be shown is through the packaging.

Companies succeed in a declining economy by showcasing their products, through packaging, in a way that no other company does. Colorful and personalized packaging immediately attracts consumers’ attention and enhances the image of the product. The right customization can showcase the features of the product in a quick, eye-catching fashion. This will set the product above the competition and allow the company to succeed in a falling economy.