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Packaging industry

Research guide

Published: 25 May 2017 Update History

Exclusive content
Access to our exclusive resources is for specific groups of students, subscribers and members.

Use our industry guide to find key background information, market research, import and export guidelines, statistics, legislation, trade bodies and trade publications.

The Business & Industry Guides series is produced by the Library & Information Service for ICAEW members and ACA students.

We can compile tailored key players reports, mailing lists, market reports, benchmarking reports and industry news. Our enquiry team can also research other industry-specific information, such as taxation, for you. Call us on +44 (0)20 7920 8620 or email library@icaew.com.

Trends and forecasts

No ordinary disruption: Winning with new models in packaging 2030
Report from McKinsey & Company on changes expected within the global packaging industry in the next decade and how companies can prepare for them. Major trends highlighted include e-commerce, changing consumer preferences, FMCG and retail-margin compression, sustainability and digitalisation. Published in May 2019.

Market research

Market research reports focusing on this business sector are available from a number of market research specialists. In most cases these reports are available to fee-paying subscribers or on a pay-as-you-go basis. 

Some free information is available from the following market research specialists, ranging from industry news to executive summaries of the reports.

A full listing of reference products and research reports for the packaging industry from Euromonitor, with a range of global, country and company level reports. Each report provides a contents listing and a useful executive summary reporting on the key trends in each country report.

Business and industry research specialists offering reports on a wide range of sectors. Topics include wooden container manufacturing; cardboard packaging and paper bag manufacturing; plastic packing goods manufacturing; and light metal packaging manufacturing. Report snapshots, table of contents and a sample report are available. The company also produces global industry research reports.

Glogal packaging trends 2019. Free report from Mintel on four packaging trends in 2019.

Other reports

Global Forest, Paper & Packaging Industry Survey 2016
Annual survey from PwC looking at the performance of the world’s largest forest, paper and packaging companies and the issues impacting the industry.

Industry news

The Library can carry out industry news searches for ICAEW members and ACA students.

Statistics on the UK

Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI)

The CPI provides statistics on the industry covering consumption and production, raw material usage and exports.

Office for National Statistics

The Annual Business Survey (ABS) from the Office for National Statistics collects financial information covering UK production, construction, distribution and service industries. Statistics available include:

  • number of enterprises;
  • total turnover;
  • approximate gross value added at basic prices;
  • total purchases of goods, materials and services;
  • total employment – average during the year;
  • total employment costs;
  • total net capital expenditure;
  • total net capital expenditure – acquisitions;
  • total net capital expenditure – disposals;
  • total stocks and work in progress – value at end of year;
  • total stocks and work in progress – value at beginning of year;
  • total stocks and work in progress – increase during year.

The dataset Non-financial business economy, UK: Sections A to S includes statistics for:

  • Manufacture of articles of paper and paperboard (17.2)
    See Section C: Manufacturing
  • Manufacture of plastic packing goods (22.22)
    See Section C: Manufacturing
  • Manufacture of light metal packaging (25.92)
    See Section C: Manufacturing
  • Packaging activities (82.92)
    See Section N: Administrative and support service activities

Statistics on Europe


Eurostat, the EU statistics hub, collates detailed Structural Business Statistics giving the latest figures for industry, construction, trade and services by sector and country. The indicators available include:

  • number of enterprises
  • turnover or gross premiums written
  • production value
  • value added at factor cost
  • gross operating surplus
  • wages and salaries
  • social security costs
  • gross investment in tangible goods
  • gross investment in land
  • gross investment in existing buildings and structures
  • gross investment in construction and alteration of buildings
  • gross investment in machinery and equipment
  • number of employees
  • number of persons employed per enterprise.

Statistics within the database are available for:

  • Manufacture of articles of paper and paperboard (C172)
    See database section ‘SBS – industry and construction’
  • Manufacture of plastic packing goods (C2222)
    See database section ‘SBS – industry and construction’
  • Manufacture of light metal packaging (C2592)
    See database section ‘SBS – industry and construction’
  • Packaging activities (N8292)
    See database section ‘SBS – services’

Global statistics

UN Commodity Trade Statistics Database (Comtrade)

The UN compiles and publishes international import and export statistics in the Commodity Trade Statistics Database (Comtrade), giving figures for goods traded by value, quantity and weight for each country.

Statistics are available for:

  • Paper & paperboard, articles of pulp, paper and board (48)
  • Glass and glassware (70)

UN Industrial Commodity Statistics Database

The UN provides statistics on the quantity of goods produced by country in the Industrial Commodity Statistics Database.

Figures are available for:

  • Sacks and bags of paper and other packing containers of paper or paper-board (32)
  • Sacks and bags, of plastics (36)
  • Boxes, cases, crates and similar packing articles, of plastics (36)
  • Carboys, bottles and similar articles of plastics (36)
  • Bottles, jars and other containers of glass (37)
  • Containers (other than for compressed or liquefied gas) of iron, steel or aluminum (42)



Average employment costs within this sector are available from Table 14 of the Office for National Statistics publication Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE). Average employment costs are provided for full-time employees, part-time employees and all employees.

The data includes average employment costs for packers, bottlers, canners and fillers.

Other regions

Please see individual country profile pages for links to sources of national statistics.

Legislation and regulation


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has a section on health and safety in the paper industry, which includes latest regulations affecting this industry.

Other regions

The World Packaging Organisation provides links to packaging regulations in China, the EU and Turkey.

Import and export

UK key players, ratios and trends

A range of reports on this sector are available to ICAEW members and ACA students via the Library.


Reports on this sector can be supplied by the Library to ICAEW members and ACA students.

UK benchmarking

The Library can supply benchmarking reports to ICAEW members and ACA students.

Trade bodies

Trade journals and publications

Trade journals, B2B magazines and specialist consumer magazines are another useful source of news and statistics.

Further reading

Articles and books in the Library collection

To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please see our guide to book loans.

You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports by post or email through our document supply service.

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