How the Paper Industry is Thriving in the Digital Age

the paper industry

Even in the age of digitization, smartphones, and tablets, the paper and forest products industry isn’t budging—instead, it’s shifting its focus. Keep reading for highlights on the industry’s areas of growth, including potential innovations in packaging and the overall value chain. 

How Digital and the Paper Industry are Working Together

There’s been a strong shift in consumer habits away from printed papers—but that lost demand is being more than offset by a growing demand for other wood-based products like tissue, packaging, and textiles. There’s a significant demand for new, high-tech products based on wood. 
While the digital age is taking away printed papers, it’s giving the industry things too. Newsprint paper is being used less, but as more and more people purchase their things online, there’s a great demand for transport packaging. In all of these changes over the last few decades, it’s imperative that we remember that the paper industry isn’t just paper—it contains a number of different industries with different objectives, and different paths of progression. 

What Will the Next 15 Years Look Like for the Paper Industry?

As we mentioned, there are very different growth paths and trajectories that can be seen for the separate segments of the paper industry. Printing and writing papers will most certainly continue to decline—but to what extent, experts aren’t entirely sure. 
As far as CEOs and executives in the industry, they have a few specific things on their minds:

  • Attractive fibers that can be bred in the northern part of the globe
  • Going after growth where it exists, and using existing asset bases to do that
  • Easy access to the source of paper and forest products, fiber

The growth in packaging means there’s going to be a greater need for attractive fibers in the future—so getting access to the right raw materials is very important here. 
The great thing about the paper industry is that it’s very well structured. Any industry that feels challenged will turn to efficiency and production to lower costs and increase performance—and paper is in a great position to do just that in the present, and in the coming years. 
There’s a major theme of innovation within the industry, and closer to the customer. Experts are seeing increased innovation around how to use paper in combination with other materials to get closer to applications never dabbled in before. There’s a constant drive to replace nonrecyclable materials in packaging, specifically reducing the aluminum in drinking packages. 
All of these innovations, big and small, are linked to the entire value chain. We expect only good things for the paper industry in this digital age from here on out. 
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