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North America Pulp and Paper Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Category (Wrapping & Packaging, Printing & Writing, Sanitary, News Print, and Others), and Country Forecast, 2022-2029

Last Updated: June 06, 2024 | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI106617



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The North America pulp and paper market size was USD 64.32 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow from USD 64.51 billion in 2022 to USD 65.10 billion by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 0.13% during the forecast period. Based on our analysis, the North America pulp and paper market exhibited an average growth of 0.03% in 2020 as compared to 2019.

With the U.S. being a major pulp producer in the world, the North America pulp and paper industry played a key role in the global paper industry. As per the United States Department of Agriculture, the country contributed to more than one-third of global pulp production in 2020. Owing to the wider applications, packaging paper is the largest produced paper category in the region. The North America pulp and paper industry is experiencing positive growth in packaging, sanitary and specialty paper categories. However, the wider adoption of digitization led to declining demand for printing papers, writing papers & newsprint papers. As per our analysis, these categories occupy around one-fourth portion of the market. Thus, the declining demand for the same in the U.S. is lowering the growth of the overall market in North America.


Outbreak of COVID-19 Boosted Demand for Hygiene Paper

Interrupted pulp production and major disruption in the value chain during the progression of COVID-19 pandemic challenged the growth of the market. Industrial paper packaging categories, except food & beverage & pharmaceuticals, experienced negative demand during the outbreak. However, the pandemic created potential demand for health & hygiene papers, such as tissues, face towels etc. To fulfill the increasing demand for sanitary paper from the healthcare sector, the U.S.-based paper producers shifted their focus toward producing the same. For instance, major paper producers, such as International Paper and Kimberly-Clark Corporation boosted sanitary paper products in the U.S. in 2020. Also, the pandemic paved the way for manufacturers to incorporate new technologies & advanced protective products, such as antimicrobial coatings for hygiene paper products.


Smart Process Optimization with Artificial Intelligence to Strengthen Market Growth

Manufacturers are increasingly opting for the inclusion of technologies, such as AI, smart sensors and big data to analyze and optimize the results of production, marketing and sales. These technologies study the quality of paper pulp during the production process and take necessary actions as per preset conditions. Big data is also employed to study the relation between supply and demand and help the company forecast its next strategies.

Although many paper mill process control departments used to operate independent of IT, the situation has changed with time. Most paper mills have begun to combine the two into a single entity that shares systems such as virtualization technology. Other noteworthy new advancements in the North America pulp and paper industry include information integration, energy efficiency, and the widespread use of sensors. Honeywell has long focused on innovative sensor technology for the paper sector and has introduced numerous novel sensors for these industries. For example, Honeywell’s quality control system that evaluates uniformity, fiber orientation, and paper smoothness uses faster camera sensors, greater frequency, and PPI. These sensors can be attached to a QCS and used to scan the paper back and forth for potential flaws.

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Growing Paper Recycling Activities to Drive Market

The paper recycling industry is well-established and capital-intensive. Companies who recycle other materials find paper recycling helpful to their services. It provides opportunities for entrepreneurs in services such as collection, transportation, and sorting.

According to the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), 65.7% of paper consumed in the U.S. was recycled in 2020, maintaining a high recycling rate for more than a decade. In the U.S., the requirements for recycling paper differ by state. According to state rules, all paper grades must be recycled in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. Businesses are required to recycle newspapers in California, while all trash generators in Connecticut are required to recycle newspapers, periodicals, and white and colored office paper. Maine, South Dakota, and Virginia have all enacted specific obligatory paper recycling laws. This is expected to increase paper recycling activities, which further shall foster North America pulp and paper market growth.


Increasing Adoption of Digital Media in News and Education Fields to Confine Market Growth

Newspaper, print media, and educational publications were some of the largest consumers of pulp and paper in the past. Similarly, students utilized a large amount of paper in notebooks, notes, textbooks, and reference papers. However, the ingress of digital media, warranted by the improving telecommunication infrastructure, has shifted the knowledge and data toward digital media.

The emergence of COVID-19 has been a vital factor in the spread of digital media. The distribution network of newspapers and print media was severely affected across countries announcing lockdowns. Furthermore, many people avoided contact with newspapers to avoid the risk of contraction of COVID-19. Many people have shifted their preference to digital platforms, such as websites, apps, and social media for reading news and other information. On the other hand, schools and colleges were under lockdown restrictions in many countries and students had to attend classes via online media. This factor reduced the uptake of stationery articles, including paper products. Owing to these factors, the market growth of North America pulp and paper was hampered in recent years.


By Category Analysis

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Wrapping & Packaging Segment to Dominate the Market Owing to Increasing Sustainability

In 2021, the wrapping & packaging segment held the lion's share in the market. Major packaging end-use industries such as fast-moving consumer goods, food & beverages, and pharmaceuticals are including sustainable packaging solutions for their products. Demand for paper-based packaging solutions, such as bags, and corrugated boxes has increased in recent years. Paper can be recycled and reused; thus, it is playing a crucial role in reducing the challenge of packaging waste. It can be efficiently used as a substitute for plastic packaging in so many applications. Therefore, the increasing focus on sustainable solutions is projected to drive the growth of the wrapping & packaging segment in the near future. 

Increasing consumer spending on health & hygiene products in North America is creating a lucrative demand for sanitary papers and driving growth of the segment. The sanitary segment is anticipated to witness the fastest growth in this market during the study period. However, with the increasingly digital economy, the consumption of printing & writing and newspapers is declining. These segments are showcasing negative CAGR in the near future.


The U.S. pulp and paper market size was USD 59.54 billion in 2021. The country dominated paper consumption due to the higher demand from all end-use applications. The presence of large-scale manufacturers, availability of raw materials and adoption of the latest paper manufacturing technologies have created a healthy competition in the market. Owing to the increase in online retailing, the demand for paper packaging in the country has increased. The sustainable packaging trend among suppliers and end-users is further projected to drive market growth.   

In Canada, most of the forest products industry, including paper, is concentrated in Quebec and Ontario. Recyclability is becoming a necessity for packaging manufacturers in Canada. However, it has created a challenge for products containing polymer-based coatings used for waterproofing paper packaging. Currently, there is a thrust to use a recyclable protecting coating on paper and this trend is expected to be gaining traction throughout the forecast period. The growing concern about the non-recyclability of plastic is also driving the usage of pulp and paper.


Key Players to Focus on Efficient Utilization of Paper Raw Material to Sustain in the Market

The North America pulp and paper market is characterized with the presence of large & medium scaled entities operating in this market. Effective utilization of available forest resources is a major challenge for paper manufacturers. Thus, key players such as WestRock, International Paper, Domtar, and others are focused on production capacity expansion to gain more advantage in the competitive North America market. For instance, in March 2022, WestRock planned to establish a corrugated box plant at Longview, Washington to fulfill the increasing demand from customers in the Pacific Northwest. Moreover, these players are taking significant efforts to optimize the usage of utilities, which is further helping in gaining more profit margins.



  • December 2021: International Paper planned the construction of a corrugated packaging manufacturing plant at Atglen, Pennsylvania. The company is aimed to grow its industrial packaging footprint in the north-eastern U.S. The plant is projected to be fully operational in the first quarter of 2023, with construction starting in the first quarter of 2022.

  • July 2021: Georgia-Pacific Corporation announced plans to extend its curbside recyclable paper padded mailer manufacturing footprint to meet the rising demand for more environment-friendly shipping envelopes. Customers in the Northeast and Southeast, including Amazon, will benefit from the new sites in Jonestown, Pennsylvania, and McDonough, Georgia. GP is also expanding its first mailer manufacturing facility, which launched in the Phoenix area in 2020 by adding a third production line.


An Infographic Representation of North America Pulp and Paper Market

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The research report includes both qualitative & quantitative insights on key market segments. Quantitative insights include the global market sizing in terms of value (USD Billion) and volume (Million Tons) across key countries and categories profiled in the scope of the study. Additionally, this research report highlights the market share and growth rates of all segments along with key countries. Qualitative insights cover an elaborative analysis of market drivers, restraints, growth opportunities, key trends, and supply chain analysis related to this market. The competitive landscape section covers the detailed profiling of the key players operating in this industry.

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Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



Value (USD Billion), Volume (Million Tons)


By Category

  • Wrapping & Packaging

  • Printing & Writing

  • Sanitary

  • News Print

  • Others

By Country

  • U.S. (By Category)

  • Canada (By Category)

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the market size was USD 64.32 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 65.10 billion by 2029.

Registering a CAGR of 0.13%, the market will exhibit slow growth in the forecast period.

The wrapping & packaging segment is projected to lead the market during the forecast period.

Rising demand from the packaging industry is the key factor propelling the market growth.

International Paper, Georgia Pacific Corporation, WestRock, Packaging Corporation of America, and Domtar are some of the leading players in the market.

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