Global Returnable Packaging Market Overview

The global returnable packaging market size is bound to display a stupendous CAGR of 6.2% over the forecast period (2020-2027), according to the latest report by Market Research Future (MRFR). Returnable packaging includes items that can be recycled or reused throughout the supply chain while adhering to consumer safety guidelines. These comprise hand-held containers, dunnage, racks, pallets, and bulk containers. They are made of durable materials such as wood, plastic, and metal. The use of returnable packaging can lead to high net returns to companies and savings on shipping and transportation costs.

The returnable packaging market is bound to expand owing to demand for sustainable packaging solutions by industries and customers alike. Although initial capital investments are high, the returns are achieved rapidly. Returnable packaging is made of durable materials and able to withstand harsh weather and logistical troubles. Awareness of sustainable packaging and rapid industrialization can bode well for the market. Improvements in economic policies coupled with demand for foods and beverages can bolster market growth.

But high transportation costs of returnable packaging can hamper market growth.

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COVID-19 Impact:

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negligible effect on the global returnable packaging market. High demand from customers and changing priorities of food suppliers and brands can work favorably for the market. Launch of food delivery mobile applications and ordering from home owing to changes in customer habits can drive the demand. Returnable packaging is used in canned and packaged goods owing to their huge demand. Refill packages of personal care products with low weight and parcel size will be prioritized in the market. Lightweight products coupled with brand owners improving packaging to prevent theft or counterfeiting can bode well for the market. The focus on less developed nations as well as westernization of customers can drive demand for returnable packaging.

Industry Trends:

Returnable packaging solutions are expected to stay in the wake of the pandemic and soaring costs of raw materials. Sustainability and awareness of customers and clients can drive its demand among manufacturers. Use of recycled plastic content without compromising on material performance is estimated to be in high demand among end-use industries. Productivity ratio and need to rein in inflation can drive the market growth comfortably.


On the basis of material, the market has been segmented into wood, plastic, metal, and others. Under the material segment, plastic accounts for the largest market share. Plastic returnable packaging is preferred due to their extensive flexibility, reusability and cost effectiveness. The use of high-density polyethylene and polypropylene for manufacture of pallets, drums, crates, and IBCs can bode well for the segment. The segment can net huge returns over the forecast period due to strong chemical and weather resistance. On the other hand, the metal segment is deemed to attain a high demand due to higher sustainability compared to plastic.

On the basis of product type, the market has been segmented into drums & barrels, pallets, crates, bottles, intermediate bulk containers (IBC), dunnage, and others. IBC containers are expected to dominate the product type segment of the market. It is also expected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period. Rising demand from various end-use applications like food & beverages and petroleum & lubricants can spur the segment growth. IBCs are preferred due to its low cost and high durability. On the other hand, pallets are expected to contribute significantly during the forecast period mainly due to increase in demand for consumer goods. Use of recyclable pallets over expendable pallets can bode well for the segment.

On the basis of end-use, the market has been segmented as automotive, food & beverages, pharmaceuticals & healthcare, and consumer goods. Automotive can dominate the returnable packaging market and is expected to grow at a highest CAGR during the forecast period. Increased use of returnable containers by automotive manufactures for transportation of different automotive components to suppliers and the need for cost reduction for automotive manufactures to handle competition are factors driving the growth of the market. Expansion of car manufacturers to emerging nations and the growing numbers of the middle class can drive the segment growth. On the flip side, food & beverages segment is also expected to contribute significantly during the forecast period mainly due to increasing demand for storage and transportation of bulk food products and beverages.

Regional Segmentation:

The returnable packaging market covers regions of North America, Europe, Asia Pacific (APAC), and Rest-of-the-World (RoW).

Europe is expected to exhibit the highest CAGR over the forecast period owing to awareness of waste volumes caused by packages. Efforts to reduce waste and demand for bulk transportation can drive regional market growth. Rising income levels of customers coupled with growing consumption rates can drive the demand for returnable packaging. High rate of urbanization, exposure to modern retail, and large population can also influence the market growth.

North America is estimated to be the fastest growing returnable packaging market owing to consumer awareness and presence of packaging and logistic solution companies. Abundance of natural resources and need to curb plastic waste can drive the demand for returnable packaging.

Competitive Analysis:

The returnable packaging market is very competitive and marked with alliances and joint ventures. New product developments are expected annually owing to government initiatives and schemes.

Key players involved in the market are Brambles, Menasha Corporation, Myers Industries, Schoeller Allibert, Schutz GmbH & Co. KGaA, Vetropack Holding, DS Smith, Nefab Group, IPL Plastics, and Rehrig Pacific Company.

Browse In-depth Market Research Report (100 pages) on Returnable Packaging

Industry News

Econovus Packaging, an Indian company, is offering returnable packaging on assembly components and complete knock-down operations for automotive clients.

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