The need for product packaging in Asia’s e-commerce market is steadily increasing as more customers turn to online retail over brick-and-mortar retailing as their main method of purchasing products. The continuously increasing popularity of e-commerce across Asia, combined with improved internet infrastructure, a greater number of mobile phone users, and the growth of m-commerce, will shape the e-commerce packaging market over the near future. Vendors in this market will have to adapt to the changing expectations of internet-savvy consumers—especially millennials—who have grown accustomed to typical e-commerce practices and seek greater innovation, convenience, and quality from e-commerce product packaging and services.
China is behind much of Asia’s e-commerce product packaging market growth: in 2015, the transaction volume of Chinese online shops totalled more than USD 2.5 trillion. The large amount of e-commerce transactions conducted in China each year—many of which made by individual consumers in Europe and North America, and will involve shipping products out of the country—require efficient and secure packaging solutions to ensure the safety of products during transit. The e-commerce product packaging market in China has the potential to grow even further as internet use in the country continues to expand: more than 30% of China’s rural population now has internet access, and this number is expected to increase through initiatives by e-commerce giants such as Alibaba. The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.5% over the next four years, with a projected value of USD 14 billion in 2021.
India’s thriving e-commerce market is also contributing to the growth of e-commerce packaging. It’s one of the fastest-growing markets in the country, primarily as a result of the substantial numbers of internet users and mobile internet users in India. In 2010, India had more than 100 million internet users; this number had roughly tripled by 2015 and continues to grow today. E-commerce offers convenience and offers consumers access to products from different regions that are not available in local brick-and-mortar stores. It has also allowed retailers in India to connect with consumers from around the world, opening up new markets. Of course, as the e-commerce market grows, so does the demand for e-commerce product packaging. The market for this packaging in India in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.5% over the next four years, with a projected value of more than USD 6 billion in 2021. There is particularly high demand in this country for tamper-proof courier bags, especially for domestic orders.
The e-commerce packaging industry in Japan is also being driven by a boom in e-commerce: Japan’s e-commerce market is expected to reach a value of USD 115 billion by the year 2021, growing considerably from USD 85 billion in 2016. The e-commerce packaging market in Japan was valued at USD 2.28 billion in 2016, and is expected to reach USD 2.71 billion by 2021. The ever-increasing rate of urbanization in Japan is the main cause behind the popularity of e-commerce and the demand for e-commerce packaging. The majority of packaging for e-commerce that is produced in Japan is consumed domestically.
For products ordered via e-commerce, consumers in Asia are overwhelmingly exhibiting a preference for highly secure packaging such as tamper-proof bags and pouches, and for premium packaging made with high-quality materials, designs, and features. The need for sustainable packaging solutions is also greatly affecting this market, and many vendors are adopting environmentally-friendly and responsibly-sourced packaging materials for their products. In the near future, the market will likely see an increase in reusable packaging for e-commerce applications, as well as personalized packaging that can be customized by consumers.
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