Global market for plastic containers

Global market for plastic containers
Plastic containers are available in the most diverse forms, shapes, and materials and can be used in a wide variety of applications. Ever higher demands are placed on these products, which are results of ongoing research and optimization. This study focuses on rigid plastic containers. Bags or similar flexible containers are not included in the market data. Thanks to their positive characteristics, plastic containers can replace other materials such as glass or metal in several applications: Analysts at Ceresana expect global market volume to rise to 46.2 million tonnes in 2021.

Complex market structure with diverse influences

Due to the flexibility of use in the most diverse applications, the market for plastic containers is highly complex and subject to a range of different influences. Factors that have to be taken into account are, for example, low per capita consumption on certain beverages 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 nations, in addition to an increase of unemployment rates and subsequent decline of income caused by the economic crisis, demographic development plays a role in some countries. Moreover, governmental regulations may influence the market for certain types of beverages. Within the market for packaging containers, some segments report a shift from traditional materials towards 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.

Consumption of beverages varying widely across segments and regions

Demand for plastic containers can vary widely, depending on region and application. Expectations for future development in individual countries often differ 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 consumption of packaged water for environmental reasons, regarding tap water as a cheaper and more environmentally sustainable alternative. On the other hand, an increasing number of consumers is discovering packaged water as an attractive and healthy alternative to sweetened soft drinks. Additionally, the quality of tap water does not fulfil required sanitary standards in many world regions, it 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

Apart from the major trends of replacing glass and metal by plastics in many cases and rigid plastic containers facing competition by flexible packaging solutions, changes occur within the market for rigid plastic containers as well. 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. Besides PET containers, containers made from PP are also becoming more important and can benefit from the dynamic development of demand for packaged foodstuffs in particular.