1.1 Definition and scope of the study
The paper market includes all the players involved in each stage of the transformation of raw materials (mainly wood, but also natural fibers) into paper pulp, cardboard and paper. Introduced in the West as early as the 12th century, paper has revolutionized graphic media, but has also become indispensable in everyone's daily life.
The 1990s marked an important turning point for the paper market: government and individual ecological considerations forced this polluting and energy-intensive industry to adapt. Increasing the production of recycled paper, developing innovative tools and reducing pollution and energy consumption required a lot of financial investments. However, ecological considerations pushing to limit or even ban the use of plastic, particularly in packaging and supermarket bags, are encouraging the growth of the paper market, which is partially replacing certain plastic packaging (hence the rise of recycled paper). At the same time, the research and development of derived and innovative materials has gained an important share of the paper market.
Cardboard, packaging, paper products and its multiple derivatives or recycled material products are all specializations that fragment this market. In France, the paper and cardboard industry is showing a growth trend from 2012 to 2021, despite profound changes in the country's production fabric with a progressive concentration of French producers. However, some business segments have suffered from the health crisis, with the turnover index for the retail trade of newspapers and stationery in specialized stores still not having recovered its 2019 level, impacting upstream suppliers.
More structurally, the decline in production recorded is mostly due to the decline in newspaper print runs, we note conversely that the production of packaging paper and cardboard has been improving since 2016.
The stationery manufacturing sector, linked to the paper market, has been in crisis for many years. It has undergone a profound change: there are ten times fewer big players in the stationery industry than there were twenty years ago and many small companies have filed for bankruptcy.
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