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Good news for folding cartons:

Retail is on the rise, bringing e-commerce up with it.

And when retail goes up, the demand for folding cartons does, too — opening a huge growth opportunity for printers.


retail growth 2021-251

But there’s a wave of change

The way people are shopping is shifting as well — opening a door to opportunity.

  • 21.3% of total retail sales in 2020 were online (5% increase)2

  • 100,000 more brick and mortar stores to close by 2025 in U.S.3

Both a first impression and a final touchpoint

As retailers and brands from big box brick and mortar to out-of-home online businesses compete for consumers’ attention and dollars, folding cartons take on a more powerful role as a marketing tool — driving the trend towards shorter runs and print on demand.

33% print runs under 5K4

3x digital folding carton volume growth projected from 2018 to 20245

90% of U.S. consumers find personalised experiences appealing6

Average grocery store stocks 4X as many SKUs than they did in 19757

Own/Private label products are growing as part of the retail mix with a 30% or higher share8

Shift toward supporting small marketplace sellers

Just as Ecommerce revolutionised retail, the pandemic revolutionised Ecommerce with an explosion of small-scale businesses selling through online storefronts on places like Amazon Marketplace, Shopify, Etsy and eBay. These entrepreneurs have unique needs that only digital print can meet, such as cost-effective short runs and quick turnarounds, with customised embellishments that make their packaging stand out from the big brands.

Unit sales from Amazon Marketplace sellers accounted for 53% (an increase of 60% from 2019 to 2020)9

57% of consumers willing to purchase from new and independent businesses for the first time10

Unboxing: Now the new everything

As the final touchpoint a brand has with the customer as well as the first impression a consumer has with the product, the unboxing is key to driving loyalty. With advances in technology and short-run digital print, creating a personalised and memorable unboxing experience is only limited by your imagination.

40% of online shoppers would share an image of their purchase on social media if it came in branded packaging11

90,000+ people type “unboxing” into YouTube every month12


Xerox® Automated Packaging Solution for the Xerox® iGen® Press product family

Integrated, inline digital solution for packaging that seamlessly combines multiple components into one powerful system for folding carton manufacturing.

Case Study: OTC Group Drives Solution for Pharma Packaging

Xerox drives serialisation solution for pharmaceutical packaging

The opportunity is big, and it’s now

And we’ve got everything you need to get in on it. From the Xerox® iGen® 5 Press, Beyond CMYK and Xerox® Speciality Imaging fraud deterrent technology to personalisation and versioning and web-to-print solutions. All customisable in one brilliant, scalable package.

Digital Print Packaging Solutions for Folding Cartons

The Xerox® iGen® portfolio represents the most widely adopted range of digital folding carton printing solutions in the market. The reason? Xerox combines the advantages of digital print – including quality, speed, colour accuracy and economics — with automated pre-press and digital finishing solutions. The result is the ability to deliver short runs, versioning and customisation that can make every carton unique — providing big value to brand owners and folding carton converters.

Digital Printing for Folding Cartons at the Alexir Partnership

See how the Alexir Partnership, a large carton converter in the UK, meet brand owners' demand for short runs and more innovative products. With the Xerox Automated Packaging Solution and the Xerox iGen Press, Alexir can print digitally on thick boards, coat and die cut short runs of folding cartons – all in line and in one step.

Digital Printing for Folding Cartons at the Alexir Partnership YouTube Videó





4. Digital Printing for Folding Carton Converting: An Analysis of User Adoption Practices and Opportunity SGIA / Keypoint Intelligence, 2017

5. The Future of Folding Cartons to 2024, Smithers Pira



8. Opportunities and implications of a “Universal Graphics Engine” for labels and packaging. Sean Smyth

9. Amazon

10. Shopify, 2020

11. Dotcom Distribution, 2019