Shipments of packaging and converting machinery in the U.S. are growing, according to the PMMI State of the Industry U.S. Packaging Machinery report produced by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies.

According to this year’s report and accompanying infographic, the value of domestic shipments for packaging machinery rose 11.2% to $10.5 billion in 2021 and is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 5.4% to 12.9 billion in 2027. Similarly, the value of domestic shipments for converting machinery also increased—by 9.5% to $1.1 billion in 2021, despite order backlogs in both categories increasing by double digits in 2021 compared to the end of 2020.

The demand for packaging machinery is largely driven by the increase in consumer goods demand, rise in adoption of automated packaging machines, and development of energy efficient machines. Advancements in electronics, computing technologies, and rising awareness of the inherent benefits of automation have encouraged numerous industries to embrace integrated packaging machinery solutions. As such, robotic packaging automation is poised to emerge as the future of packaging in the coming years in both primary and secondary packaging applications.

However, the topic of cybersecurity has emerged as a leading consideration due to new points of vulnerability as new technologies such as fully integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, remote access, and cloud computing and connected machine sensor networks continue to emerge and evolve.

The industry is also experiencing a large push for e-commerce solutions, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The shift in online purchasing habits will continue to drive demand for packaging machinery as e-commerce differs from traditional retail outlets due to increased touchpoints to reach the customer, increased packaging, and supply chain challenges.

Sustainability also presents an opportunity for businesses facing increasing economic pressures to gain value and competitive advantage as they respond to environmental concerns and the pressures of resource scarcity, population growth, and higher and more varied consumer expectations. Various eco-friendly material innovations also are emerging, requiring specialized machinery to run such material.

There is tremendous opportunity in these segments for more growth and innovation as equipment manufacturers leverage growing trends like e-commerce, sustainability, and the rise in automation, and build machinery to address these trends.