|Revamped Bubble Wrap Loses Its Pop
Bubble Wrap, the packaging material popular with shippers and toddlers alike, is losing its pop.Get more news about Best Price Bubble Wrap,you can vist our website!
Sealed Air Corp., the original seller of Bubble Wrap since 1960, is rolling out a revamped version of its signature product. Dubbed iBubble Wrap, the new packaging is sold in flat plastic sheets that the shipper fills with air using a custom-made pump. The inflated bubbles look much like traditional Bubble Wrap, with one key difference: They don’t burst when pressure is applied.
Charlotte N.C.-based Sealed Air is betting iBubble Wrap will appeal to space-conscious online retailers who are driving swift growth in the global packaging business, even as fans are disappointed by the lack of pop. Traditional Bubble Wrap ships in giant, pre-inflated rolls, taking up precious room in delivery trucks and on customers’ warehouse floors. One roll of the new iBubble Wrap uses roughly one-fiftieth as much space before it’s inflated.
Though an afterthought for consumers, protective packaging is big business: World-wide sales hit $20 billion in 2013, the most recent data available, according to Freedonia Group, a research firm.An increasing number of products and components are shipped around the world as manufacturing has become more global. and Target Corp. are constantly experimenting with new types of packaging as they look for ways to undercut rivals to offer cheaper, faster shipping, all while ensuring products reach their destinations unscathed.
Manufacturers have responded by offering an ever-growing variety of packing materials. Bubble packaging and air pillows remain the favored form of protection for e-commerce orders. Sealed Air says its best seller is liquid foam, and it is experimenting with a combination of agricultural byproducts and mushroom roots that grow and conform to the contours of a package.
Sealed Air hopes iBubble can revive the Bubble Wrap brand, which has seen its status deflate in an increasingly crowded market. By 2012, Bubble Wrap made up 3.6% of Sealed Air’s sales, down from 5.7% in 2010, and profit margins on the product had contracted sharply in the previous decade, according to the company. Sealed Air also has been unable to take advantage of the rise in e-commerce in far-flung markets, losing business to local imitators. The company rarely sends Bubble Wrap to customers more than 150 miles from its factories because its bulky size makes it prohibitively expensive to ship long distances.
There’s an initial...era for a lot of these things where they enjoy fairly significant margins. But once competition enters the market” those margins go down, said Mike Richardson, an analyst at Freedonia Group. That’s why the invention of lower-cost iBubble “may put larger customer bases within [Sealed Air’s] reach.” Mr. Richardson projects that bubble-packaging sales will grow faster than the overall packaging market over the next few years.
Invented in 1957 by the company’s founders, Bubble Wrap was for decades Sealed Air’s top-selling product. The company’s patent expired in 1981, but Sealed Air still considers its manufacturing process—which involves melting pellets of resin and stretching them over specially-designed rollers—a trade secret.
In 2012 Sealed Air got a new chief executive, Jerome Peribere, who ordered Bubble Wrap factories closed in Mexico and South Africa, and hinted that the company could discontinue production entirely if profit margins didn’t turn around, said Ken Chrisman, president of product care at the company. Sealed Air changed its logo in 2013 from nine dots, representing Bubble Wrap, to a triangle.