Sales of new and refurbished pallets will expand 3.5% per year through 2017 to 1.3 billion units, valued at $16.9 billion, according to a new study from The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based industry market research firm. Block pallets are expected to make up a larger share of the market total, and growing numbers of manufacturers will replace their existing stringer pallets with new block units.
While wood pallets are still the most commonly used product type, the study says that metal and plastic pallets are registering "impressive" sales gains. Plastic pallets, in particular, have seen the strongest advances in percentage terms historically, and Freedonia stated they will continue to record above average stock and demand increases.
Plastic pallets are long lasting and fully recyclable, allowing producers to tout both their lower lifecycle costs and environmental friendliness. Over the long term, increased use of metal and plastic pallets will reduce annual product demand requirements relative to stock, because of their much longer lifespan than wood pallets.