Demand for global packaging equipment is forecast to expand 5.8% to $71.1 billion in 2026, according to a report by Freedonia. Growth is due to advances in world durable and nondurable goods production, as well as the associated construction of new factories and expansion of existing sites.

Food companies are among the most intensive users of packaging materials and machinery. The food end-use market is expected to account for nearly one-third of global packaging machinery sales as industry output grows and manufacturers invest in new production and packaging capacity. Evolving consumer preferences and intensifying competition in the global food industry will also push operators to replace older machines with more capable models (e.g., those capable of shorter packaging runs or greater customization). 

Other reasons for growth in the packaging equipment market include:

  •  the continuing shift away from manual packaging techniques by small- and mid-sized industrial enterprises around the world
  • the more intensive use of packaging materials in developing nations, particularly as they increasingly export to other countries 
  • rising demand for state-of-the-art packaging technologies in most mature markets (and some developing ones) because of concerns about workforce issues and the desire to reduce costs
  • the adoption of new product standards and health and safety regulations that will spur demand for new packaging materials and equipment
  • the growing use of green packaging materials – which often require operators to purchase new equipment – in light of mounting concerns about pollution and waste

Despite developed manufacturing industries, the U.S. and China are expected to account for half of all packaging equipment sales growth through 2026. In the U.S., increased spending on advanced packaging technologies will boost productivity, reduce labor costs, and allow for greater customization of packaging. Strong interest in providing packaging that is viewed as sustainable will also encourage companies to invest in new machines.

In China, greater mechanization of packaging processes and intensifying competition globally for a number of export-oriented industries will support sales of more advanced machinery.

Growth will be aided by the strengthening of regulatory frameworks in developing nations (e.g., food safety standards, improved labeling) and the adoption of more demanding product, safety, and environmental standards in more established markets.