By: The Working Forest Staff
Like most industries, the global pallets industry faces a high degree of uncertainty due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. However, in the short term, the pallet industry is likely to be less impacted than many others, due to the essential nature of pallets.
Sustainability Among Decision-Making Considerations
Pallet manufacturers and users are increasingly considering sustainability factors as they make decisions on materials and products, particularly in high-income countries. Emphasis on environmental issues is expected to benefit producers of plastic pallets, as these are long-lasting products that can be made with 100% recycled material. Similarly, corrugated and molded pulp pallets are desirable for their low environmental impact. However, wood pallets will continue to dominate the global market.
See the study Global Pallets for these trends and more.
Wooden pallets are by far the most common type of pallet, accounting for 92% of unit demand and 83% of sales in value terms in 2019. Plastic pallets are a distant second. Wood pallets account for the vast majority of pallet consumption in every major pallet market around the world, as these products have a strong combination of cost efficiency and performance. Other types of pallets are largely limited to niche uses.
Global demand for wood pallets is forecast to rise 3.7% per year to 5.8 billion units in 2024, valued at $52.5 billion. Manufacturers choose either block or stringer pallets based on considerations like compatibility with automated systems, general ease of handling, customer requirements, and load capacity. Stringer pallets account for the majority of demand, although use of these is concentrated in mature markets, and many developing markets make greater use of block pallets.