Returnable Packaging Market Size, Share & Trends Report

Returnable Packaging Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Material (Plastic, Metal), By Product (Pallets, IBCs), By End-use (Food & Beverage, Healthcare), And Segment Forecasts, 2020 - 2027

  • Published Date: Sep, 2020
  • Base Year for Estimate: 2019
  • Report ID: GVR-4-68039-080-4
  • Format: Electronic (PDF)
  • Historical Data: 2016 - 2018
  • Number of Pages: 145

Report Overview

The global returnable packaging market size was valued at USD 30.5 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.4% from 2020 to 2027. Increasing demand for sustainable and durable packaging products from various end-use industries is expected to drive the growth of the global returnable transport packaging (RTP) market. Returnable or reusable packaging products are made of durable materials, such as wood, plastic, and metal. They are designed to withstand rough handling throughout the supply chain and are intended for multiple trips. The initial investment for such products is considerably high as compared to expendable packaging; however, with increasing trips, lower cost per trip can be achieved, which ensures a rapid return on investment.

U.S. returnable packaging market size

The U.S. market is expected to exhibit significant growth on account of increasing product demand from various end-use industries. Key food & beverages, pharmaceuticals, and automotive companies operating in the U.S. are increasingly incorporating sustainable business practices, which, in turn, is expected to augment the market growth.

Key companies are mainly attracted to returnable transport packaging products due to their sustainability, and economic and ergonomic benefits. Economic benefits mainly include low cost per trip in the longer term and reduction in cost associated with the purchase and disposal of expendable packaging.

Returnable packaging eliminates packaging waste going into landfills and thus is highly sustainable. Increasing adoption of sustainable packaging solutions by end-users to improve their brand reputation, coupled with rising regulatory pressure regarding the use of plastic packaging, is expected to fuel the market growth.

However, higher transportation cost is observed in the case of RTP products due to their return trip. Moreover, these products occupy a significant storage space and periodically require maintenance. In addition, theft or misplace of products is also observed, further requiring the incorporation of tracking devices resulting in increased material handling costs. This may have a negative impact on product demand.

Material Insights

Plastic led the market and accounted for more than 63% of the global revenue share in 2019. High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and Polypropylene (PP) plastics are typically used for manufacturing products, such as pallets, crates, IBCs, and drums, owing to their durability, low weight, and strong corrosion and solvent resistance.

Moreover, plastic-based RTP products incur minimal or no damage during the rough handling by forklift and other material handling equipment owing to their high impact resistance. In addition, plastic-based RTP products offer strong weather and chemical resistance, which make them suitable for pharmaceutical and food applications.

The metal material segment is expected to witness the fastest growth from 2020 to 2027 on account of high strength coupled with a strong sustainability profile of metals as compared to plastic. However, the higher weight of metal-based products is expected to hinder the segment growth to some extent.

The wood material is majorly used for making pallets. Low cost and wide availability of wooden pallets as compared to plastic pallets are the key factors responsible for their wide adoption. However, increasing demand for plastic-based pallets owing to their lower maintenance costs, ease of cleaning, and high durability & aesthetic appeal is expected to have an adverse effect on the wood material segment growth.

Product Insights

The pallets product segment led the market and accounted for more than 30% share of the global revenue in 2019, on account of extensive utilization of pallets by multiple end-use industries ranging from food & beverages to petroleum & lubricants. The growing use of reusable pallets over one expendable pallet, as the former is sturdy and economically viable, is expected to boost the segment growth.

Dunnage provides 360-degree protection to individual units during shipping. Dunnage refers to an interior placed inside the container to facilitate the safe packaging of individual units. It is an effective packaging product for the transportation of fragile, high-value automotive, and electronic products.

Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) are expected to register the highest CAGR from 2020 to 2027. The product is typically used to store and handle liquid and powdered products and finds extensive application in the food & beverage and pharmaceutical industries. Increasing demand for effective and low-cost bulk liquid transportation products from various end-use industries is expected to contribute to the high growth of the product segment.

Multiple types of returnable transport crates, including nestable, stackable, and collapsible, are utilized by agricultural, grocery, dairy, and bakery sectors for product distribution in a closed loop. Low weight, compact size, and availability in multiple sizes make them the preferred material for product handling.

End-use Insights

The food & beverage end-use segment led the market in 2019 and accounted for more than 35% of the global revenue share, owing to high product demand for the packaging of dairy, bakery, agricultural, meat, and processed & semi-processed food products. The expanding processed food products industry is further anticipated to increase product penetration within the food & beverage segment.

Automotive manufacturers primarily use RTP for the transportation of their semi-finished and finished auto components, such as body parts, from the vendors to the assembly units. Frequent and short distance transportation of heavy and high-volume auto parts generates demand for sturdy, effective, and durable packaging products, such as pallets, racks, and dunnage.

Global returnable packaging market share

The steady expansion of the global automotive industry on account of the growing middle-class population, especially in the Asia Pacific region, is expected to have a positive impact on the market growth over the forecast period. The healthcare end-use segment is expected to witness the fastest CAGR from 2019 to 2027. Increasing cases of chronic diseases and the growing aging population have been significantly driving the pharmaceutical industry, which, in turn, is expected to augment the product demand in the pharmaceutical applications over the forecast period.

Regional Insights

Asia Pacific led the market and accounted for over 36% of the global revenue share in 2019 and is projected to expand further at the fastest CAGR from 2020 to 2027. The presence of a large number of manufacturing companies in countries such as China, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam is the key factor driving the regional market. Furthermore, rapid industrialization in Asia Pacific due to the low cost of manufacturing is expected to benefit the market growth.

The market in Middle East & Africa is expected to witness significant growth in the coming years owing to shifting focus from the oil industry to the manufacturing industry. North America was the second-largest market in 2019 and is expected to grow at a steady CAGR from 2020 to 2027. Favorable trade agreements, such as the USMCA between U.S., Canada, and Mexico, are expected to boost manufacturing activities within the region, which is expected to drive the returnable transport packaging market in North America.

Key Companies & Market Share Insights

The global market is moderately fragmented with the presence of large- and medium-sized companies. Companies are increasingly providing pallet renting programs to end-use companies, wherein, a pallet manufacturer delivers, tracks, and collect pallets. Such services allow the end-use companies to rent pallets instead of complete ownership, which helps them reduce the material handling cost. Key companies are trying to consolidate their market position primarily through merger & acquisition strategy. Besides, companies are rapidly incorporating tracking devices, such as RFID tags, to track the RTP products throughout their supply chain to minimize product losses. Some prominent players in the global returnable packaging market include:

  • Returnable Packaging Resource, Inc.

  • Nefab Group

  • Plastic Packaging Solutions Midlands & East Ltd.

  • Tri-Pack Plastics Ltd.

  • Amatech, Inc.

  • CHEP

  • Celina Industries

  • Integra Packaging

  • ORBIS Corp.

Returnable Packaging Market Report Scope

Report Attribute


Market size value in 2020

USD 31.7 billion

Revenue forecast in 2027

USD 46.5 billion

Growth Rate

CAGR of 5.4% from 2020 to 2027

Base year for estimation


Historical data

2016 - 2018

Forecast period

2020 - 2027

Quantitative units

Revenue in USD billion and CAGR from 2020 to 2027

Report coverage

Revenue forecast, company ranking, competitive landscape, growth factors, and trends

Segments covered

Material, product, end-use, region

Regional scope

North America; Europe; Asia Pacific; Central & South America; Middle East & Africa

Country scope

U.S.; Canada; Mexico; Germany; U.K.; France; Italy; Spain; China; India; Japan; South Korea; Australia; Brazil; South Africa

Key companies profiled

Returnable Packaging Resource, Inc.; Nefab Group; Plastic Packaging Solutions Midlands & East Ltd.; Tri-Pack Plastics Ltd.; Amatech, Inc.; CHEP; Celina Industries; Integra Packaging; ORBIS Corp.

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Segments Covered in the Report

This report forecasts revenue growth at global, regional, and country levels and provides an analysis of the latest industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2016 to 2027. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global returnable packaging market report on the basis of material, product, end-use, and region:

  • Material Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2016 - 2027)

    • Plastic

    • Metal

    • Wood

  • Product Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2016 - 2027)

    • Pallets

    • Crates

    • IBCs

    • Drums & Barrels

    • Dunnage

    • Others

  • End-use Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2016 - 2027)

    • Food & beverages

    • Automotive

    • Consumer durables

    • Healthcare

    • Others

  • Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2016 - 2027)

    • North America

      • U.S.

      • Canada

      • Mexico

    • Europe

      • Germany

      • U.K.

      • France

      • Italy

      • Spain

    • Asia Pacific

      • China

      • India

      • Japan

      • South Korea

      • Australia

    • Central & South America

      • Brazil

    • Middle East & Africa

      • South Africa

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