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Pallets market assessment; wood still on top!

26 Feb 2015

Pallets are used to support and stabilise a huge variety of goods during transportation. They are also incredibly versatile, designed to be used with forklifts, front loaders, pallet jacks and more. The pallet market is thriving. Currently around 80% of pallets are constructed from wood. However, plastic pallets are becoming increasingly popular and the plastic pallet market is likely to experience significant growth over the next few years as the demands and requirements of industries change.

Categories of Pallets

Pallets are manufactured from a range of different materials including High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Polypropylene (PP), composite wood (LVL, particleboard, OSB and plywood), corrugated paper (moulded, solid fibreboard, honeycomb and corrugated pulp paper). The global pallet market is therefore divided into several distinct categories – Paper; Metals; Composite Wood; Wood and Plastics. Wooden pallets have by far the biggest share of the market and this is not expected to change in the near future. However, there is a growing need for structures to be used in the transportation of raw materials. These need to be not only easy but safe, especially for end user industries such as dairy, cement, retail, chemical, automobile, food and beverage. The plastic pallet market will benefit significantly from this requirement as demand grows.

Geographical Market Shares

North America maintains the largest geographical market share with Europe and Asia-Pacific not far behind. While North America is unlikely to lose this dominant position, and Europe is predicted to experience growth on a marginal level, the Asia-Pacific market is set to witness substantial growth as a result of increased demand from domestic manufacturing. In a small minority of areas, however, there is a chance that lack of infrastructure and facilities may limit growth to a certain extent.

Factors contributing to the increased requirement for pallets on a global scale include higher end-user demand, particularly from emerging economies like China and India. The automobile industry has also experienced a boost as economies move from recession into recovery and as this trend looks set to continue it places additional demand on the pallet industry to provide appropriate transportation solutions. The same is also the case for the packaging industry. The environment and the requirement to operate on a more environmentally friendly level are also likely to have an impact in the near future.

As demand for safe, more effective and easier transportation solutions continues to rise, the pallet industry is taking advantage of the opportunity to expand into new territories and emerging markets. This is particularly true of the leading manufacturers. As the need for a more sustainable option becomes ever more important, the plastic pallet industry is likely to experience further large scale growth in the medium to long term.

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