GVR Report cover 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 & Beverages, Healthcare), By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2021 - 2028

  • Report ID: GVR-4-68039-080-4
  • Number of Pages: 135
  • Format: Electronic (PDF)

Report Overview

The global returnable packaging market size was valued at USD 98.55 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.7% from 2021 to 2028. Increasing demand for sustainable and durable packaging products from various end-use industries is expected to fuel the growth of the 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, by product, 2018 - 2028 (USD Billion)

The U.S. market is expected to witness significant growth over the forecast period on account of the increasing product demand from various end-use industries. Key food and 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 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 significant storage space and require periodic maintenance. In addition, theft or misplacement of products is 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 a 63.4% share of the global revenue in 2020. 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. Besides, plastic-based RTP products offer strong weather and chemical resistance, which makes them suitable for pharmaceutical and food applications.

The metal material segment is expected to witness the fastest growth from 2021 to 2028 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, high durability, and aesthetic appeal is expected to have an adverse effect on the growth of the wood material segment.

Product Insights

Pallets led the market and accounted for 57.2% share of the global revenue in 2020. This is attributed to the extensive utilization of pallets by multiple end-use industries ranging from food and beverages to petroleum and 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 2021 to 2028. The product is typically used to store and handle liquid and powdered products and finds extensive application in the food and 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 crates, including nestable, stackable, and collapsible, are utilized by the 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 and beverages end-use segment led the market in 2020 and accounted for 34.5% share of the global revenue. This is attributed to high product demand for the packaging of the dairy, bakery, agricultural, meat, and processed and semi-processed food products. The expanding processed food products industry is further anticipated to increase product penetration within the food and beverages segment.

Global returnable packaging market share, by end use, 2020 (%)

Automotive manufacturers primarily use returnable packaging products 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. 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 growth of the automotive segment over the forecast period.

The healthcare end-use segment is expected to exhibit the fastest CAGR from 2021 to 2028. 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 a 36.4% share of the global revenue in 2020. It is projected to expand at the fastest CAGR from 2021 to 2028. 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 the Asia Pacific due to the low cost of manufacturing is expected to benefit the market growth.

The market in the Middle East and Africa is expected to witness significant growth in the coming years owing to the shifting focus from the oil industry to the manufacturing industry. North America was the second-largest market in 2020 and is expected to expand at a significant CAGR from 2021 to 2028. 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 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 collects 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 a 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:

  • Orbis Corporation

  • Nefab Group

  • Plastic Packaging Solutions Midlands & East Ltd.

  • Tri-Pack Plastics Ltd.

  • Amatech Inc.

  • CHEP

  • Celina Industries

  • UBEECO Packaging Solutions

  • RPR Inc.

  • Schoeller Allibert

Returnable Packaging Market Report Scope

Report Attribute


Market size value in 2021

USD 103.72 billion

Revenue forecast in 2028

USD 153.35 billion

Growth Rate

CAGR of 5.7% from 2021 to 2028

Base year for estimation


Historical data

2017 - 2019

Forecast period

2021 - 2028

Quantitative units

Revenue in USD million/billion and CAGR from 2021 to 2028

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

Orbis Corporation; Nefab Group; Plastic Packaging Solutions Midlands & East Ltd.; Tri-Pack Plastics Ltd.; Amatech Inc.; CHEP; Celina Industries; UBEECO Packaging Solutions; RPR Inc.; Schoeller Allibert

Customization scope

Free report customization (equivalent to up to 8 analyst working days) with purchase. Addition or alteration to country, regional & segment scope.

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Segments Covered in the Report

This report forecasts revenue growth at the global, regional, and country levels and provides an analysis of the latest industry trends and opportunities in each of the sub-segments from 2017 to 2028. 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, 2017 - 2028)

    • Plastic

    • Metal

    • Wood

  • Product Outlook Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)

    • Pallets

    • Crates

    • IBCs

    • Drums & Barrels

    • Dunnage

    • Others

  • End-use Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)

    • Food & Beverages

    • Automotive

    • Consumer Durables

    • Healthcare

    • Others

  • Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)

    • 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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