The value of the US paper and paperboard market witnessed strong growth of 5.8% in 2021 with the real GDP growth rate of the US expanding by 5.7% in 2021. The market is anticipated to witness growth during the forecast period as the COVID-19 pandemic subsidies leading to growth in consumption for most of the packaging products. The market is expected to follow a stronger growth trajectory during the forecast period, supported by the rising demand for paper packaging and the recovery of demand in other segments.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the consequent enforcement of lockdown measures, impacted the supply and demand for paper and paperboard. The demand for newspaper and, printing and writing paper declined significantly as away-from-home consumption slumped, reduced footfall in shops fell, and working from home and home-schooling limited consumption of paper in commercial and education establishments, which are the largest demand-sources for these segments. In the US, newspaper, printing and writing paper holds the smallest minor share of the market value, accounting for 1.5% and 16.8% respectively. Meanwhile paper manufacturers faced order downtimes due to the level of decline, with prices falling at record levels.
On the other hand, demand for other paper and paperboard products, which include packaging paper, household, and sanitary paper, was uplifted thanks to the pandemic. With regards to packaging paper, consumption has surged more than any other product, following unprecedented demand from surging online retail.
The US paper and paperboard market had total revenues of $64.8 billion in 2021, representing a compound annual rate of change (CARC) of -1.2% between 2016 and 2021. In comparison, the European market increased with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 0.8%, and the Asia-Pacific market declined with a CARC of -1.9%, over the same period, to reach respective values of $76.8 billion and $178.0 billion in 2021.
Market consumption volumes declined with a CARC of -2.2% between 2016 and 2021, to reach a total of 63.6 billion units in 2021. The market’s volume is expected to rise to 67.9 billion units by the end of 2026, representing a CAGR of 1.3% for the 2021-2026 period.
The US paper and paperboard market volume witnessed declining growth of 1.9% during 2016-2021 owing to the recessionary impact of COVID-19 pandemic. During the forecast period, the paper and paperboard market will recover and witness steady growth. The newsprint, printing and writing paper segments have witnessed continuous decline in recent years amid digitalization and technological advances that have deemed print media obsolete. Increased digital literacy and internet connectivity across the world has meant that media, communication, and business processes that previously utilized a lot of paper have been digitized and the demand for paper has fallen. Especially, in print media, publishers have increased their efforts to align with the shift of newspaper readership to digital media, reducing newsprint demand. In US, the newsprint and printing & writing paper segments hold a market share of 1.5% and 16.8% respectively in 2021.