Companies in this industry make paperboard and corrugated boxes, paper bags, stationery, and sanitary paper products. Major companies include Kimberly-Clark, Packaging Corporation of America, and WestRock (all based in the US), as well as Mondi (UK), Rengo (Japan), Smurfit Kappa Group (Ireland), and Svenska Cellulosa (Sweden).
Demand is driven by general commercial activity and population growth. The profitability of individual companies depends on efficient operations, as products are sold mainly based on price. Big companies have advantages in distribution and can supply large customers. There are few economies of scale in manufacturing; large and small producers operate the same kinds of plants -- large producers just have more of them. Small companies can compete successfully by making specialty products or serving a small geographical market. The US industry is concentrated: the top 50 companies account for about 60% of industry revenue.
Products, Operations & Technology
Major products include paperboard containers (about 60% of US industry revenue), paper bags and coated paper (20%), sanitary paper products (10%), and stationery (5%). Other products include crepe paper, die-cut paper for non-office use, and molded pulp products (egg cartons, food containers and trays). Tens of thousands of different paper products are produced, but most manufacturers concentrate on a limited product line.