Australians consumed 2.1 kg less paper in 2017-18

Australia’s per capita consumption of paper and paperboard fell 1.6% over 2017-18, with average consumption declining to a total of 129.3 kg, according to the latest analysis by IndustryEdge.

The decline in Australia’s total per capita consumption was softened by rising domestic consumption of Packaging & Industrial (P&I) paper and paperboard, as well as an evident rise in consumption of Tissue and tissue products.

Unsurprisingly, consumption of Newsprint and Printing & Communication (P&C) papers declined.

Although Newsprint may be the significant story, per capita Printing & Communication paper consumption fell 5.9% to just 40.3 kg/head, slightly faster than the average decline of 5.6% per annum over the decade.

The chart does not do justice to growth in per capita utilization of Tissue and tissue products. At 13.0 kg/person, the apparent consumption rose 4.5% compared to the prior year and is heading towards the top of global per capita consumption. There is every possibility that inventory effects have infected this particular data. It only takes a few thousand tonnes of supply (local production or imports) for the population based consumption data to be skewed by more than one kilogram per person.

Despite this, there is little doubt that individual consumption of Tissue and tissue products is growing in Australia, especially because of ‘Away From Home’ utilization in an increasingly café society, as we have commented previously.

Finally, it is probably evident that Packaging & Industrial paper and paperboard grades – like corrugated boxes and cartons – are on the whole not consumed at the household level (though that is changing). Thus, per capita analysis is little more than useful as a comparative measure.

Australian per capita consumption growth of 4.2% fed through to consumption of 69.4 kg/head in 2017-18.

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