Pallet Market Insights Provided by Modern Reader Survey

In case you missed it, Modern Materials Handling held its pallet market webcast yesterday, once again sponsored by ORBIS.

Pallet market usage by material, part of Modern Materials Handling's 2013 pallet survey.

Pallet market usage by material, part of Modern Materials Handling’s 2013 pallet survey.

Hosted by Bob Trebilcock of Modern and Dr Mark White of White & Company, there were many interesting takeaways as anticipated. One was a suggestion by Dr. White that the Freedonia estimate of 3.5 percent pallet market growth for North America is conservative, citing market recovery and the trend towards near shoring, or moving manufacturing facilities from Asia back to the Americas.

Other results of the survey were as anticipated. In terms of material of preference, wood still dominates with 91 percent of respondents saying they use wood pallets, while 37 percent said they use plastic pallets, 18 percent reporting using wood composite, with paper and metal weighing in at 8 and 7 percent respectively. Users can use more than one type of pallet in terms of material, hence the aggregate score much higher than 100 percent.

With pallet price still the key component of pallet purchase decision making, it is no surprise that wood continues to dominate the market place. From a broader perspective, it is encouraging to see, however, that pallet price, while still the leading consideration, has dropped in importance from 63 to 56 percent over the last year. Encouraging from a reusables perspective, 40 percent of respondents cited ‘cost per use’ as a key consideration, which translates into interest in more durable pallets in reusable pallet systems.

Another interesting question had to do with plastic pallets. Some 33 percent of respondents believe that their usage of plastic pallets will increase over the next 12 months, however Dr. White cautioned that this response may be related to economic recovery and resulting activity increase as well as to changing preference. Respondents indicated they were attracted to cleanliness and durability associated with plastic pallets.

In terms of pallet reuse and pooling, it is noteworthy that 19 percent use or plan to use a pallet rental system, while 25 percent use or plan to use some type of pallet management or recovery system. Over half of readers are staying the course with one-way pallet shipments. Of course the approach to reuse varies widely by industry, with sectors such as food, beverage and automotive having a much higher penetration of pallet pooling or management solutions.

Read Bob’s article at Modern Materials Handling.

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