Can bubble packaging's “healing powers” influence protective packaging demand?

February 03, 2012

Ah, bubble wrap packaging. There is something about the pliable transparent plastic material that brings amusement to people of all ages. Some even say the recognizable popping sound when compressed and ruptured can even be used to alleviate stress.

The first-ever bubble wrap brand "pop" poll stress survey found that 77% of Americans are more stressed or as stressed today than they were one year ago. Close to one-third of the nation (32%) believes that there is a better shot for the national debt to be erased than a life without stress.

Sealed Air Corp., the makers of bubble wrap brand cushioning, conducted this poll to gauge the current stress level of Americans and reinforce the surprise stress-relieving benefits of popping bubble wrap, the company stated. The survey, conducted by Kelton Research, reveals that about one minute of popping bubble wrap packaging provides stress relief equivalent to a 33 minute massage.

"Bubble wrap was originally intended as a form of textured wallpaper, but has transformed into an unexpected pop culture icon, becoming most recognized for the satisfying release that comes with the popping of each bubble," said William V. Hickey, president and CEO of Sealed Air. 

Okay, whether bubble wrap actually does help to reduce stress or not is up for debate. However, a recent study did state the demand for protective packaging is set to increase by about 5% per year to $5.9 billion in 2016, according to The Freedonia Group, Inc., an industry market research firm.

The study cited the increase is fueled by a rebound in manufacturing output, especially for durable goods, along with continued solid growth for Internet shopping. These factors will necessitate heightened requirements for cost-effective packaging used in the protection of goods from shock, vibration, abrasion and other damaging effects of shipping and handling, the company stated.

The increasing popularity of Internet shopping will be one of the most important trends influencing protective packaging demand.  Products expected to benefit include protective mailers, air pillows and bubble packaging. Growing requirements for cost-effective, lightweight cushioning will propel gains for bubble packaging, which also offers greater ease of use than alternatives such as foam-in-place polyurethane, according to the study.

The study did not state whether bubble wrap's "healing powers" for stress is also driving demand for the protective packaging industry.

What are your thoughts about the state of the protective packaging industry? Do you think bubble wrap really can help relieve stress?

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