The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a significant change in the packaging industry as demand for certain packaging types has increased, but fallen for others.

Verdict has conducted a poll to assess the impact COVID-19 pandemic had on packaging sales.

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Analysis of the poll results shows that the impact of COVID-19 on packaging sales has been negative.

Packaging sales

A majority 59% of the poll respondents voted that the pandemic has affected packaging sales, while 22% of the respondents voted that COVID-19 had a positive impact on packaging sales.

Further, 19% of the respondents opined that the pandemic had neither positive nor negative impact on packaging sales.

The analysis is based on 538 responses received from readers of Packaging Gateway, a Verdict network site, between 26 March 2020 and 09 September 2020.

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the packaging industry

The $900bn per year packaging industry is witnessing an increase in demand for packaging of essential items, groceries, e-commerce shipments, and healthcare products, according to McKinsey & Company. Demand for industrial, luxury and bulk transport packaging, on the other hand, is declining.

The demand for packaging of essential items and e-commerce shipments is further expected to grow as people continue to stay at home and turn to online purchases. Packaging types and designs that offer greater hygiene and safety are likely to be preferred among other types.

The packaging industry was shifting towards sustainable and zero waste trends prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The trend, however, is likely to shift as the demand for established materials such as cardboard, plastic and glass increases. Use of reusable cups and bags has already been halted by a number of companies to avoid the risk of contamination.

The shift in demand has placed high pressure on packaging companies as they struggle to meet demand amid the restrictions imposed to contain the coronavirus. As the duration of the pandemic extends, the industry is expected be under pressure to lower prices in the long term, impacting small and medium size enterprises.