The global air cushion packaging market is expected to witness strong growth during the forecast period. This growth can be attributed to the rising prevalence of e-commerce and protective packaging of products. Traditionally used bubble wrap packaging consumes more space and goods are highly likely to be damaged due to low cushioning factor. This led to development of air cushions, which increases cushioning factor and reduces risk of damaging goods during transit.
The global market is expected to grow significantly over the coming years, driven primarily by the rising demand for online purchasing among consumers. Use of air cushion packaging effectively protects sensitive goods in transit from vibration; blocking & bracing; and filling voids between products in carton. Vendors are taking utmost care while packaging goods, as delivery is a major factor that defines the quality of service and product. Rise in e-commerce creates an intense focus on packaging requirements, including development of new products along with last-mile delivery innovations.
Some of the major factors impacting the overall packaging industry include protection; hygiene & safety; convenience; preservation; risk elimination and waste minimization. It is a fundamental element of the logistics system. Air cushion packaging is recognized to having significant impact on logistic costs and performance. It plays an integral role in supply chain management developing efficient distribution, communication and promotion of competitive marketplace.
Air pillow packaging also is expected to grow further in the future timeframe as it is integrated into all the levels of packaging, namely, primary packaging (surrounding the product), secondary packaging (boxing type for ease of manual movement) and tertiary packaging (stacking). The range of packaging solutions available presently ranges from traditional boxes to posting bags & custom-styled solutions; and air cushion packaging is adopted in each stage as it is reliable, easy to handle, and incurs lower costs.
It is widely used in packaging of electronics; automotive components; pharmaceutical; cosmetics and other fragile consumer goods. They offer the functionality to inflate & deflate the cushion as required. This degree of freedom along with minimal impact on environment creates a growth avenue for the product in the packaging industry. Use of air cushioned packaging reduces the requirements of additional fitments and cost incurred with it thus driving demand to create higher profit margins for vendors.
Concern of environmental impact and causing minimal footprint is an established phenomenon, resulting in a revived interest in sustainability, mots particularly in relation with packaging, among manufacturers and end users. It is also reflected in the government regulations and policies, consumer attitude, and brand owner values communicated through the quality of packaging.
EU pioneered driving towards circular economy principles and now other countries and regions are adopting them creating a sustainable and optimal solution for the same. There is a specific focus on plastic waste, which focuses on mainly single-use plastics. Companies are adopting strategies to tackle and address these by substituting plastics with alternative materials, increasing investments in bio-based plastics, improving recycling and process of plastic waste. These implies increasing demand for air cushion packaging, which has minimal impact on the environment as it contains additives that accelerate biodegradation.
Market penetration caused by e-commerce companies such as Amazon; Alibaba; e-Bay & FlipKart towards reaching consumers at their doorstep, coupled along with innovations and technologies, will further bolster air cushion packaging market size. It is substantially driven by increasing internet usage, smartphone usage and language diversity on e-commerce platforms. Furthermore, adoption of digital wallets, safer online transaction process, and logistical models such as same-day-delivery and last-mile delivery also have a significant impact on the need for high-quality, optimal packaging solutions.
Based on functionality, air cushion packaging can be segmented into void filling; cushioning; block; and bracing & wrapping. Void filling is a major market segment in terms of functionality offered by air cushion packaging market. This has caused vendors to adopt newer solutions by discarding older items such as bubble wraps.
The India online retail market sized to be over USD 19 billion in 2018, wherein electronics emerged as the major share-holder accounting for over 48% of the market. Electronics devices require precise and efficient packaging solution so that losses from damage to goods during transit can be reduced. This can be regarded as a major factor driving the sales of air pillow packaging solutions in the regional industry.
China is expected to account for the highest market share in terms of air cushion packaging sales as it handles for a significant volume of cross-border e-commerce trades. This can be attributed to growing middle-class hunger for foreign products. They are home to over 20,000 delivery companies; over 400 of them operate cross-border trades according to Chinese State Postal Bureau. An estimated number of 130 million e-commerce parcels are delivered per day in the country, thus driving air cushion packaging market.
A major setback observed by all global delivery companies is that around 20% of their total deliveries are being returned by customer. Majority of these returns are caused by damaged delivered goods. This creates a major restraint for the packaging industry because a bad user experience which can mean to loss of future prospective customer. Companies and vendors are increasingly concentrating to offer high consumer satisfaction in terms of product delivery and packaging quality, thus creating broader avenues for increased air cushion packaging sales.
Some of the key market player who have significantly added to the innovation and distribution of this products are Atlantic Packaging; 3G Packaging Corp; FP International; Shandong Xinniu; Airfil Protective; Vijay Packaging System; Aiirpack India; AirPack & Compak.
In-depth report on global air cushion packaging market by Grand View Research: