Can it be mid-November already, with preparations for the year-end holidays getting into full swing? Just ask International Paper. The Wall Street Journal recently quoted IP’s chief executive Mark S. Sutton as saying that box orders for the online retail segment have been up 15% year-over-year in 2014 and could continue rising, depending on demand. The story reports that the surge in demand for holiday packaging from both online and traditional retailers is helping to improve the performance of IP’s industrial packaging unit, which provides cardboard boxes, specialty packaging, retail displays, and paper bags.

As every packaging printer and converter knows, at no other time of year does packaging achieve a higher profile than it enjoys during the holiday gift-giving season. That applies not just to folding cartons but to holiday packaging accompaniments: tags, labels, and above all, festive gift wrap. This infographic says that the annual worldwide spend for Christmas wrap comes to $2.6 billion (helping to generate enough landfilled paper waste, claims this source, to cover nearly 5,800 NFL football fields).

Disrupting retail holiday shopping routines is the rise of mobile marketing—a shift in technology utilization that draws dollars away from print in marketing applications. But, packaging stands only to benefit from the trend as the holidays approach. Artisan Mobile, a developer of tools for mobile app management, has announced the results of a survey in which 91% of respondents said they plan to use phone and tablet apps to make purchases this holiday season. A majority (54%) said they’ll do at least half of their holiday shopping with the help of apps.

Brick-and-mortar retailers don’t like it when app-facilitated comparison shopping deprives them of sales that go to online stores instead (helping to drive the above-cited surge in demand that’s sweetening the season for IP). But no matter how holiday sales originate, the gifts and goods they procure have to be sent down the chimney in packages. And that’s what keeps the Yuletide merry and bright for packaging printers and converters.