Pros and Cons of Paper Tubes in Retail Packaging: the Ultimate Guide

Significance of Retail Packaging

For brand owners and retailers, it is always challenging to get their products stand out in the highly competitive retail market. To get noticed, brands are trying their utmost in all aspects, providing the very best products & courtesy service, and creating eye-catching retail packaging.

Packaging has played a truly vital role in current consumer market. And there are so many packaging formats and materials to choose from: glass bottles, PET jars, plastic containers, folding cartons, rigid gift box, paper tubes. Each packaging solution carries its own pros and cons, which makes brand owners difficult to make a decision.

As a paper tube packaging manufacturer and supplier, we would introduce both the good sides and the bad sides of packaging tubes so that brand owners (like you) could have a clear picture of this packaging form, and also have a rough idea on if cardboard tube packaging is suitable for your product lines.

Advantages of Paper Tubes

1. Environmental Care

An increasing number of brands and retailers are striving to avoid plastics and seeking alternative for their product packaging. Like other cardboard packaging, paper tube is made out of cardboard and paper, which is completely eco-friendly, plastic-free and biodegradable.

With increasing awareness of plastic pollution and environment protection across the globe, customers tend to live a green lifestyle, including their purchasing behaviors. With that being said, using a recyclable and sustainable product package would gain an edge over the competitors who may not do. Also, with every sales, you are reducing carbon footprint, delivering responsibility for sustainability, and also building a green image in customers’ minds.

2. Safety

As mentioned, cardboard tubes are made of paper and cardboard. This character ensures its very safe – natural and non-toxic. This is truly important if the package is to house products like foodstuff (protein powder, dietary supplements), beverage (coffee, tea bags or loose leaf tea), cosmetics, beauty and personal care items (lip balm, lotion, deodorant solid perfume). You dont have to worry the plastics or metal corrode, posioning the packaged contents.

3. Sturdiness

Better yet, as tubes are spirally wound by layers of cardboard, it is sturdy, durable and physically unbreakable. During store handling and transportation, the customized thick cardboard wall offers premium protection and cushioning to fragile and brittle products such as glass Boston round bottles (for CBD oil packaging), cosmetics cream jars, glass candle vessels, delicate hair straighteners & curlers, wine & liquor bottles.

4. Light-weighted and space-saving

Compared to wood, glass and metal, paper is relatively light-weighted. For spices and seasoning packaging, more brands are using cardboard powder shaker tubes as an alternative to glass shaker jars, as cardboard cylinders are much light-weighted. Also, tubes are slim and compact due to its cylindrical shape, allowing it to save much space especially in packaging for prints, posters, diplomas, certificates, drawings reed diffuser sticks, and other cylindrical shaped products like cylindrical serum jars, essential oil bottles. The tube packaging fits these products just right, which would definitely save you a lot in store storage space and shipping costs.

5. Cost-effective

Compared to glass, metal, wood or PET, paper is probably the cheapest in raw material regard. Based on different packaging needs, there are post-consumed waste (PCW) paper, virgin paper stock to choose from, which provides flexibility in budget.
And what makes cardboard cylinders outperform other cardboard packaging boxes like rigid boxes? The key difference lies in the labor work. Rigid boxes involves more labor works, which adds to its manufacturing cost. Folding cartons could be a little cheaper than tube packaging in raw material and labor work, but it is not as durable and sturdy, which limits its applications for some product packaging.

6. Fully customizable

It is safe to conclude to say branding is the most significant key to gain a position in the highly competitive marketplace. With all kinds of visual identities such as logos, slogans, icons, you establish basic brand image. Further to this, product packaging with eye-catching graphics design is of equal importance, as packaging is the first impression your brand delivers to customers and the public.

Paper tubes are very flexible in this regard – its customizable in dimension, style, value-added finishes, relatively low order minimum for custom artwork printing. With that being said, cardboard tubes could be easily customized to fit your specifications and match your visual systems, creating a branded and identical packaging that would elevate your marketing efforts and establish brand awareness.

Disadvantages of Paper Tubes

1. Astronomical shipping rates

After going thru the good points above, you may almost decide to go for cardboard tubes. However, one issue may make your interest in paper cylinder boxes fall down. That is the shipping costs. The Covid-19 pandemic across the globe has seen a skyrocketing shipping cost increase in the past year. As one of our customers commented, the rates are astronomical.

Indeed, for lots of projects, especially the tubes are big sized, its very common the shipping cost is even much more than the tube cost itself. As paper tubes could not be packed flat in shipping (as folding cartons do), the shipping cost could be WAY too high for most of brands.

The world is suffering from the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, and for lots of brands their packaging budgets have to be reduced to be very limited amount. And the expensive shipping costs may easily blow the projects away.
So before going ahead, do check on the ballpark amount of shipping cost. If you are in a niche market and your products are small in size, then it would not affected as much.

2. Not waterproof

Compared to plastics / PET / glass packaging formats, cardboard canisters are not weatherproof. This means the tubes could be damaged or dented in extreme wet conditions. Although we could apply extra lining interior inside the tube to provide additional moisture resistance, it is not waterproof. So paperboard tubes would not be an ideal option to directly package liquid-specific items.

3. The order minimum

Order minimum may be a problem for start-ups, which is usually 1,000 pieces or above. To start a custom project, there is a minimum order qty. of 1,000 pieces. This could be too much for those brands that just start the business and do not have much budget. You may be curious why the order minimum is so high? This is because there are a couple of minimum charges in different production stages, such as labor work, printing cost, transportation. It is probably that these costs are the same for qty. 200 and qty. 1000 pieces, so when only 200 pieces are desired, the unit cost would be much higher and not workable.

The above is the pros and cons of paper tubes. Its is necessary to go thru the good and bad aspects before adopting cardboard tubes for retail packaging.

Paper Tube Solutions are a leading manufacturer and supplier of paper tube packaging based in China. We are specialized in custom paper tube projects for retail packaging.

Whether you are looking for cardboard canisters to serve as primary packaging (like lip balm, deodorants, tea bags, vaping carts, consumer electronics packaging) or secondary packaging (for CBD tincture bottles, cosmetics containers, wine & spirits bottle packaging, olive oil bottles), we have a proper and viable packaging solution for you.

For more portfolios and case reference, please go to the homepage or check in the solution page. Also, you are more than welcome to reach out at [email protected] or [email protected], and we would be getting back to you as soon as possible.