Demand for stretch and shrink film in the US is forecast to rise 3.3% yearly to $2.4 billion in 2015, driven by accelerating demand for product packaging and for the bundling and protection of goods during warehousing and distribution, as well as competitive advantages over other packaging materials.  Other stimulants include resin and machinery improvements, and opportunities in areas such as stretch hoods and stretch labels and sleeves. These and other trends are presented inStretch & Shrink Film,a new study fromThe Freedonia Group, Inc. (, a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.  

Stretch film demand will increase 2.8% annually through 2015 to $1.4 billion, accounting for almost three-fifths of the total.  The fastest growth is anticipated for stretch hoods due to their cost advantages, high throughput rates and excellent load integrity and weather protection.  Stretch film advances will result from advantages in energy and labor savings.

Demand for shrink film will grow 4.2% annually to $970 million in 2015.  Advances will be promoted by shrink film’s high clarity and excellent print capabilities, greatly enhancing product marketability.  In particular, growth will be aided by increased use in labels.  Shrink film also provides a better seal and moisture barrier than stretch film, and is frequently used in conjunction with corrugated trays as a case overwrap.  Shrink film is well-suited for covering heavy, non-uniform pallet loads such as heavy equipment or bricks due to its higher puncture resistance and ability to help maintain load integrity.

Demand for stretch and shrink film resins is expected to rise 2.5% annually to 1.9 billion pounds in 2015.  Low density polyethylene (LDPE) is the leading stretch and shrink film resin due to its competitive cost and excellent elongation, puncture resistance and other properties.  Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) stretch and shrink film demand will remain flat through 2015 in volume terms, though value gains will be based on price increases.  Shrink sleeve labels for foods and beverages will be the primary area of opportunity for PVC, with other areas declining as a result of PVC’s poor environmental image and competition from LDPE films.