Plastic Packaging 46 Million Tons by 2021: Plastic Trend Continues for Packaging

Editor: Dominik Stephan

Plastic packaging solutions increasingly replace traditional materials such as glass or metal: By 2021, the global demand for rigid plastic containers could amount to 46.2 tons, a new Ceresana study says. For this study, analysts have analyzed all relevant market data from 2005 onwards.

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(Picture: PROCESS)

Besides overall economic development, the market for plastic containers is subject to a range of influences. Factors that have to be taken into account are, for example, low per capita consumption on certain beverage markets in parts of Asia-Pacific or the dynamic urbanization and income development in that region, which results in a change of consumption behavior. In many industrialized countries, on the other hand, effects of the economic crisis such as a rising unemployment rate and subsequent decline of available income are playing a role, as does demographic development.

Additionally, public regulations, e.g. taxes or recycling systems, may influence the market. Some segments are reporting a shift from traditional materials to plastics. At the same time, plastic containers also face an increasing competition by flexible plastic packaging solutions. Other trends such as convenience, increasing women's employment, sustainability or lightweighting also have impacts on the market for plastic containers.

Large Regional Differences

Demand for plastic containers differs widely depending on region and application. Expectations for future development in individual countries often vary extremely. While the market for lemonades is relatively saturated in many industrialized nations, growth potential in Asia-Pacific is still very high. Consumption of bottled water is influenced by a variety of trends as well. In many countries, there are organizations and initiatives that campaign for a reduction of packaged water consumption for environmental reasons, regarding tap water as a cheaper and more environmentally sustainable alternative.

Yet bottled water is increasingly becoming an attractive and healthy alternative to sweetened soft drinks for many consumers. Additionally, the quality of tap water does not fulfil required sanitary standards in many world regions and has to be boiled before consumption in order to ensure sterility. This time and energy consuming process can be avoided by using bottled water.

PET and Polypropylene Gaining Market Shares

In the past, PET containers have been gaining a very high market share in the segments CSD and bottled water in particular. By now, PET containers can also be found in segments such as foodstuffs, fruit juices of household chemicals. They continue to profit from their positive characteristics: They weigh comparatively little, can be recycled, do not break, and offer high clarity. At the same time, the gas barrier properties and protection against UV radiation they offer continue to improve. Apart from PET, containers made from polypropylene (PP) are becoming more important as well. They profit from a rising demand for packaged foodstuffs in particular.