We tend to take pallets for granted, but in fact they are big business—so big that by 2017, U.S. demand for new pallets will reach 1.3 billion units, while the total number in use will be twice that. Those figures come fromPallets to 2017, a 300-page market study on pallets by Freedonia Group, a Cleveland, Ohio-based research and analysis firm.
There are three main factors behind the projected jump in demand, the report says. First is the rising number of shipments as the U.S. economy improves. Second is the need to replace the lower-cost refurbished wooden pallets that many companies bought during the recession. And third, the report predicts, many manufacturers will replace existing stringer pallets with block versions. Although wood pallets will remain by far the most common type of equipment, plastic and metal platforms will see above-average increases in production and demand over the next four years, the report says.
Demand from manufacturers is expected to outpace that from warehouse operators. Growth in the latter market will slow, the report says, largely because warehouses increasingly depend on pallet management services.
Pallets to 2017 provides detailed statistics and analyses of various aspects of the pallet market as well as profiles of 55 pallet suppliers and service providers. All that information is costly—the full report sells for $5,100. But if your budget's tight, fear not: Freedonia says it will sell individual pages and chapters from the report beginning in August. More details are available here.