A recent report from Smithers Pira, “The Future of Global Packaging to 2020”, gives readers an overview on the status of the packaging industry in 17 major and 33 smaller markets, by examining current market sizes, trends and demand forecasts, and concluding that the Asian region and emerging markets will drive the packaging demands in the upcoming 5 years.
The packaging industry is forecast to see an estimated, year-on-year, growth rate of 3,5% between the years of 2015 and 2020, going from $839 billion to $998 billion.
This growth will not be homogeneous, as emerging countries will grow beyond the market average, thus creating new opportunities, all the while more established regions will see changes to the value chain.
What impact will this growth have on the key packaging sectors?
- Rigid plastic packaging will increase its market share and see the highest growth, an estimated year-on-year rate of 4,4%, among the packaging segments. Most of this growth can be attested to the rise in popularity of plastics as substitutes to heavier packaging materials like metal and glass, with companies’ aiming to reduce their material consumption and costs, as well as the CO2 footprint during transit. Here, the biggest growth is to be expected in less developed regions of Africa, Asia and The Middle East.
- The growth of flexible packaging-paper, plastic and foil laminates is expected to continue, albeit at a slower pace. The market for flexibles has expanded significantly over the last decade, mostly due to technological advances that has allowed for a transition from mostly industrial use to consumer grade options. Here, research shows that Asia will continue to be the most significant market for flexibles and food products will continue to dominate the demand.
- Board packaging-corrugated formats, folding cartons and liquid cartons can be seen as holding the position of highest value, and will continue to do so up until 2020. The increase in online retail is one of the major reasons that board packaging has seen such a rise in demand, lately putting many Asian countries on the same frequency as its European and North American counterparts. This continued growth in online retail will put an ever increasing demand on the user-experience of the packaging.
- Metal packaging will continue to show stability in its growth. The biggest demand will come from Asian countries, as Western Europe and Northern America already have seen a switch in demand to more light weight and consumer friendly materials.
- Glass will continue to be seen as a luxury product, thus having the slowest growing rate, reflected by the long-term transition from commodity to luxury material.