US demand for specialty films is forecast to rise 4.8 percent per year to $8.4 billion in 2019. Gains will be fueled by the rising need for high-value, technologically advanced materials that provide characteristics such as barrier properties, controlled permeability, light control, and electrical conductivity or resistivity. A healthy outlook for the packaging industry, where the majority of specialty films are used, will boost demand, as will a rebound in construction. Additionally, advances will result from the development of new applications in degradable packaging and fuel cells, and robust growth in emerging markets such as advanced batteries.

Asia/Pacific Region to Lead Growth

Global demand for protective packaging is projected to increase 6.5% per year to $33.5 billion in 2021. In overall terms, this is roughly a continuation of the growth registered during the 2011-2016 period. However, below the total, there are a number of developments. The Asia/Pacific region will continue to lead market value gains, despite a notable deceleration of growth in China, the region’s largest market. Growth will be faster than that seen in the 2011-2016 period for Eastern and Western Europe, Central and South America, and the Africa/Mideast region. While all the market segments are expected to register healthy gains, they will be outpaced by the e-commerce market.

Flexible Packaging Offers Greatest Growth Opportunitiess

Due in part to their presence in the e-commerce market, flexible protective packaging products are expected to post the fastest gains through 2021. Additionally, some users will shift to flexible products where performance criteria allow. Lighter weight materials are less costly to ship to users, and reduce shipping costs for packaged products. Many flexible packaging products are flat until used, reducing storage requirements. Additionally, many products can be produced from recycled materials, and are reusable or recyclable themselves.

E-Commerce Outpaces Other Markets

E-commerce’s share of overall retail activity has grown at an impressive rate, but still accounts for a small share thereof. In most of the developing world, where Internet subscription rates and mobile device ownership levels are high, e-commerce has become an important component of the retail landscape. As the developing world began to catch up in terms of e-commerce infrastructure, growth in online retailing has been explosive -- boosting demand for the products used to secure packages during shipment. At the same time, the proliferation of online orders packaged and shipped directly to consumers has led users to consider greater use of customized packaging designed to require less protective packaging, which could restrain growth in the long term.

Study Coverage

This industry study presents historical demand data (2006, 2011 and 2021) and forecasts for 2021 by region, product (flexible, foam, rigid), and market (durable goods manufacturing, nondurable goods manufacturing, e-commerce, and retail and other. The study also evaluates company market share and competitive analysis on industry competitors including Carpenter, DS Smith, Mondi, Nefab, Pregis, Ranpak, Sealed Air, Signode Industrial Group, Sonoco Products, Storopack Hans Reichenecker, and WestRock.

Published:  May 2017

Format:  PDF emailed by publisher

Number of Pages:  232

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The Freedonia Group, Inc. is a leading international industry market research company that provides information and analysis needed to make informed strategic decisions for your business. Freedonia’s industry market research on Packaging covers a broad range of packaging materials (e.g., paper, plastic, metal) and applications (e.g., protective packaging, food containers). In each case various factors affecting demand are considered such as renewability, life style, distribution, end use product demand and other related issues. All studies include market size, forecasts, product and market segmentations, related economic indicator and regulatory analysis, market share estimates, a discussion of industry structure, and profiles of the leading companies.