Airbus has revised downwards its outlook for freighters over the next two decades, putting the demand at 851 aircraft.
This figure, released as part of its 20-year global market forecast, is 8% lower than the 927 it had predicted in last year's analysis.
Airbus also suggests that some 1,800 passenger aircraft will be converted into freighters over the period - far fewer than the figure of nearly 2,200 given in 2011.
But the airframer nevertheless estimates that the freighter fleet will almost double from 1,615 aircraft currently to 2,938 in 2031.
Demand for new-build freighters will be split almost equally between high-capacity and intermediate long-range types, although the latter sector will account for twice as many conversions, around 850.
Airbus foresees no demand for new freighters in the smallest size category, where the requirement for 523 aircraft will be entirely satisfied by conversions.
Chinese routes will feature in four of the top five largest freight traffic flows by 2031 - led by operations from China to North America - with annual growth of 6.5%.
North America will account for the largest number of new-build freighter deliveries, around 350, while Asia-Pacific will take some 250.