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Global packaging industry expected to reach $820 billion by 2016

The global packaging industry will swell to almost $820 billion by 2016 predicts Pira International in a new market forecast. Driven mainly by increasing demand for packaging in emerging and transitional economies, a 3% per annum growth rate will focus on board products and rigid plastics, with $40 billion and $33 billion in cumulative predicted growth respectively to 2016.


The Future of Global Packaging Market and Technology Forecasts to 2016 provides market sizes and forecasts broken down by packaging product, end-use sector and geographic market, in a comprehensive overview of the status of the packaging industry in 50 countries globally. The study is based on an in-depth combination of primary and secondary data gathered during Pira's extensive research program for the global packaging industry.

This growth is being driven by a number of broad trends such as growing urbanisation, investment in housing and construction, a burgeoning healthcare sector and the rapid development still evident in the emerging economies, including China, India, Brazil and some eastern European countries. An increase in personal disposable income in the developing regions fuels consumption across a broad range of products, with consequential growth in demand for the packaging of these goods. For instance, increased demand for white goods, like washing machines and dishwashers, driven also by growing time pressure on consumer lifestyles, leads not just to a growing demand for packaging for the machines themselves, but also for associated products such as the household care products needed to operate these machines, thus stimulating demand across a range of packaging media.


Global packaging sales by type 2010 vs 2016


Source: Pira International



More specifically, robust growth in demand for rigid plastic packaging, especially in sectors like drinks, cosmetics, toiletries, and household and personal care products, is stimulating packaging consumption. Similarly, flexible plastic packaging materials are receiving a boost from sectors like perishable foods, healthcare, convenience foods and various industrial markets. Corrugated board consumption is being egged on by the processed food sector and a number of non-food applications including personal and household care, chemicals, electrical goods and others. At the same time, folding carton consumption is benefiting from the growth found in healthcare products, electrical goods, and frozen and chilled foods, among others.


According to the Pira, the US was the largest consumer for packaging in 2010 with a demand of $137 billion; China was close behind at $80 billion. China is anticipated to surpass the US by 2017, and India will enter the top ten packaging countries with its demand set to almost double in the next five years to $24 billion.


Technological developments in packaging are seeing an upswing in the consumption of bio-polymers in both rigid and flexible applications, improved value adding in products with functional and barrier coatings, as well as enhanced graphics, resource reduction by way of continuous lightweighting across all materials, and other developments.


Board products account for the biggest sector of the packaging market, totaling some $210 billion in 2010 and maintaining their leading position into 2016 when the sector will be worth $40 billion more at nearly $250 billion.


Rigid plastic is the second largest slice of the whole, at over 21% or $144 billion in 2010, expanding to over $200 billion by 2016, while the flexible packaging market will increase from $130 billion in 2010 to over $163 billion by 2016.


The consumption of metal packaging represented over 15% of the 2010 market but will be losing market share to competing products, especially rigid plastic, to enjoy only 14% of the 2016 market, while demand for glass containers is also anticipated to slow down over the medium term, increasing from some $45 billion in 2010 to around $53 billion by 2016.


Pira research shows that food and healthcare packaging will continue to be the biggest end uses in global packaging, with the food and drinks industry growing by almost $43 billion combined to 2016. The study shows that health care packs will grow 4.5% each year to reach a total of $34 billion. Cosmetics packaging should grow 4.2% per year to reach $24 billion.