US demand for caps and closures is projected to exceed in 2018, representing 305 billion units according to a new research report from Reportlinker.com (Reportlinker.com). Gains will be driven by an acceleration in container unit growth relative to that of the 2008- 2013 period and greater use of dispensing and child-resistant closures (CRCs), which are more costly than standard threaded closures. Demand for dispensing closures will benefit from consumer trends favoring convenience and ease of use, as well as brand owner interest in differentiating products at retail. CRC demand will be driven by the need to comply with Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) requirements that mandate child-resistant packaging of pharmaceuticals as well as many household products.
Dispensing closures to drive key plastic segment
Plastic caps and closures, which comprise the majority of demand, will post slightly above average unit and value advances through 2018, reflecting the significance of plastic containers in numerous markets and the growing prevalence of plastic closures on other container types. The long term shift in the consumer packaging mix away from glass and metal containers to plastic alternatives will support plastic cap and closure growth, as plastic containers tend to employ plastic closures. Among plastic closure types, dispensing closures will experience the fastest growth based on convenience and functionality benefits. Overall value growth will be held back by a moderation in resin price increases and continued lightweighting for sustainability and cost reduction. Despite ongoing loss of share to plastic closures, metal closure demand will post a marginal unit increase as a result of growth for screw and lug closures in ready-to-drink beverage applications such as iced tea and coffee, and greater use of roll-on closures with wine. A rebounding construction market will also fuel an upswing in demand for metal paint cans and related lids. Elastomer and rubber stopper demand will register healthy gains, driven by the continuing commercialization of injectable biotechnologybased drugs and the increased preference for stoppers made from higher value synthetic rubber and thermoplastic elastomers. Natural corks will experience a modest recovery due to quality improvements and proactive industry marketing programs aimed at promoting cork as a premium and sustainable option in wine packaging.
Pharmaceuticals to be fastest growing market
Pharmaceuticals will be the fastest growing cap and closure market through 2018, helped by the expanding elderly population and trends favoring the use of medication over more costly patient procedures. In addition, the need to comply with government regulations and industry standards involving the child-resistant, senior-friendly, and security features of packaging systems will underlie gains. Beverages are by far the largest market for caps and closures. While the popularity of single serving bottles will stimulate unit gains, prospects will be constrained by weak production volume outlooks in some large markets and the conversion by most beverage companies to lighter weight, less costly closures. In the beer market, metal crown prospects will be dampened by resurgence of aluminum cans, stemming from the growing popularity of aluminum cans among producers of craft beer due to cost and sustainability advantages.