Thursday, December 29, 2016

Tiny Plastic Bubbles

The return of Bubblewrap:
Historically, the industry served mostly manufacturing and wholesale clients. But today, e-commerce is playing a much bigger role. In the last decade, retail has gone from less than 20 percent of packaging sales in the U.S. to nearly 30 percent. Freedonia forecasts that the U.S. demand for air cushions alone is up by 5.5 percent this year.

“There are a lot of reasons why air cushions are well-suited to take advantage of e-commerce,” explained Katie Wieser, an analyst at Freedonia Group. “In general, it comes down to performance. The great thing about bubble wrap and air cushions is that a lot of the stuff we buy online doesn't need a ton of protection, it just needs to stay put in the box.”

The biggest market share holder in the American protective-packaging space is Sealed Air, a company with a very literal name that has some historical origins. The company was founded in 1960 by Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes, the inventors of bubble wrap. At the time, bubble wrap was invented for use as wallpaper. That trend never caught on, but the material’s use as protective packaging took off. Before bubble wrap, the most common options for cushioning goods in transit were sawdust, newspaper, and rubberized horsehair.
Plus, it's more fun to pop than a newspaper...

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