Plastic packaging refers to packaging containers made of polymers such as high density polyethylene (HDPE), low density polyethylene (LDPE), polyethylene teraphthalate (PET), polypropylene (PP), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Plastic packaging is one of the most rapidly growing segments of the packaging industry, and combines the best qualities of various plastics to deliver a wide range of protective properties while using a minimum quantity of material. Technological innovation and changing consumer trends in the packaging industry have led to the growing demand for plastic packaging.
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Factors such as growth of the food & beverage industry, increasing consumer preference towards flexible packaging and rising demand for plastics in pharmaceutical packaging is expected to propel the market growth for plastic packaging. However, fluctuation in crude oil prices which leads to change in prices of its downstream chemicals is expected to slow down the growth of the market. Nonetheless, growing demand for bioplastics and emerging usage of nanotechnology in plastic packaging is anticipated to open growth avenues for the plastic packaging market.
Plastic packaging is segmented into rigid plastic and flexible plastics. Within rigid plastic packaging, products are cased inside rigid containers with dimensional stability. Flexible packaging is made up of flexible or yielding materials, which readily alter shape when filled with goods. Rigid packaging (including bottles, PTTs, closures, etc.) accounts for majority of the global plastic packaging. Rigid plastics are expected to witness exponential growth as plastic containers are generally preferred to metal, paperboard, and glass packaging in many applications.
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Food & beverages was the largest end-use segment for plastic packaging and accounted for over 65% of the market share in 2013. Changing lifestyles and eating habits of consumers has led to growing demand for packaged fast foods over the past few years and the trend is expected to continue over the next few years. However, medical is expected to be the fastest growing application segment in the plastic packaging market as the healthcare industry is expected to grow significantly over the next few years. This growth is as a result of various factors including governmental initiatives, rising consumer awareness regarding general health, increase in disposable income, rising number of chronic diseases and growing aging population among others. Stringent regulations regarding packaging of pharmaceuticals to prevent fraudulent drugs in the market and to maintain the chemical properties of the drugs is expected to boost the demand for plastic packaging over the next few years.
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Asia Pacific, accounting for over 35% of the market share, witnessed the highest demand for plastic packaging in 2013 and this trend is expected to continue within the forecast period. Several factors such as rising demand of packaged food, changing lifestyles and eating habits, and growing demand from the healthcare industry are expected to drive the demand for plastic packaging in this region. Demand for plastic packaging is expected to be above average in developed markets of North America and Europe in the next few years with respect to end-use industries such as medical, and food & beverages among others.
Companies such as Amcor Ltd., Bemis Company Inc., Huhtamaki Oyj, Mondi, Sealed Air Corporation and Sonoco Products are key players present in the plastic packaging market. Several large, medium and small scale plastic packaging manufacturers offer a wide range of plastic packaging of various sizes, shapes and colors possessing different technical specifications such as thickness, breadth and width among others.
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