The number of pallets in use in the US is forecast to grow 2.4 percent annually to 2.6 billion in 2017, according to a new report available from the Reportlinker.com catalogue. Annual demand for new pallets will increase 3.5 percent per year to 1.3 billion units.
- Rising manufacturers’ shipments will require producers to add to their existing stocks in order to have enough pallets on hand to handle higher output levels.
- The 2007-2009 economic recession negatively impacted new lumber pallet demand because refurbished pallets were a lower-cost alternative for cash-strapped producers. As a result, relatively few new pallets were purchased during the downturn, leaving owners unable to maintain stock quality. Going forward, a more favorable economic climate will induce companies to discard these aging refurbished units and purchase new ones, fueling stronger demand growth.
- Block pallets are expected to make up a larger share of the market total, and growing numbers of manufacturers will replace their existing stringer pallets with new block units.
Manufacturing market to outpace warehousing uses
The report suggests that pallet demand for manufacturing will outpace warehousing market sales through 2017, fueled by a rebound in shipments following a period of decline and supported by a trend toward insourcing as labor costs rise in developing countries and shipping costs continue to climb. Warehousing pallet demand will moderate from gains posted during the 2007- 2012 period for two reasons:
- There will be growth in use of pallet management services that are able to skillfully maintain pallet stocks with minimal new product purchases, tempering increases in demand. These firms provide producers and distributors with the pallets they require, eliminating the need for them to purchase and maintain their own pallets. The use of pallet management services also frees up pallet storage space that can instead be utilized for components and finished goods.
- Deceleration will increase due to the growing maturity of this industry, as much of the shift towards third-party providers has already occurred.
Plastic, metal pallets to gain market share on wood
Wood pallets are projected to remain the most commonly used product type through 2017, although competitive products will register more impressive sales gains.
Plastic pallets have seen the strongest advances historically in percentage terms, and they will continue to record above-average stock and demand increases. Durable plastic pallets can last for many years and are fully recyclable, allowing producers to tout both their lower lifecycle costs and environmental friendliness.
Metal pallet demand, however, will rise at the fastest pace of any product type through 2017 due to a large build-up in idle stocks during the 2007-2009 recession and the generally slow economic recovery that followed. As manufacturers’ shipments fell between 2007 and 2009, metal pallets were taken out of active stocks and put in storage because they represented too significant an investment to be simply discarded. As output levels recovered, these idle metal pallets were used to meet product requirements, severely limiting new pallet sales in 2012. Through 2017, demand will advance rapidly from the low 2012 market base as idle stocks are eliminated and new units are purchased.
Details on these and other findings are contained in the upcoming industry study, Pallets, priced at $5100. It presents historical demand data (2002, 2007, 2012) plus forecasts for 2017 and 2022 by material, product, market and US region. In addition, the study assesses market environment factors, examines the industry structure, evaluates company market share, and profiles 50 competitors in the US industry.