Retail ready packaging (RRP) markets around the world have grown and will continue to expand, according to the PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies’ RRP study, findings of which were announced this month at interpack in Germany.

The survey of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), end-user manufacturers and retailers reveals that Europe projected the largest market value for 2012, at $24.7 billion—more than quadruple the 2012 U.S. value of $5.5 billion, which has seen a growth rate of 1.4% in the same period. The most regional growth in RRP was seen in Asia, which increased 4.7% since 2011.

“Urbanization, population and economic growth are significant factors driving demand for RRP,” says Charles D. Yuska, president and CEO of PMMI. “The expanding number of supermarkets is also contributing, particularly large box stores that carry a lot of leverage with manufacturers. As retailers adjust their packaging requirements, manufacturers must continually innovate to stay competitive and retail ready packaging enhances both shelf appeal and supply chain efficiency, while also addressing concerns about sustainability.”

Survey respondents agree that it’s a tall order, with considerations of lifetime cost, labor costs, flexibility and reliability all weighing heavily on their equipment purchase decisions for RRP investments. However, 79% of interviewees were confident that these investments would grow, while 88% also projected productivity in this area would increase over just two years.

Material preferences for RRP were mixed among respondents. While most favored rigid formats for durability and appearance, 67% reported they would opt for flexible materials for cost savings.