Expansion will not be uniform however. Emerging countries will expand beyond the market average, creating new opportunities for material suppliers and converters. Simultaneously more established regions are undergoing significant business and demographic changes that will transform value chains in the packaging segment.
In generating its data on global packaging growth Smithers Pira identified and analyzed the differing impact such trends will have on key packaging segment. The outlook for converted packaging across the study period is summarized here:
Growth of flexibles to slow down
Flexible format packaging – paper, plastics and foil laminates – expanded significantly over the past decade as technological changes have transformed the packaging type from a low-cost industrial-use option into consumer-grade containers with a vast variety of applications.
The market for flexibles – and particularly flexible plastics – will continue to boom over the next five years. This will happen at a rate slower than that witnessed in the first half of the decade, but will still exceed the mean market growth.
Smithers Pira’s data shows that Asia will continue to be the most significant regional market for flexible format packaging, and will increase its relative share of sales 42% to nearly 45% between 2015 and 2020.
Global food will continue to dominate the market for flexible packaging – aligning with the pan-industry demand for lightweight packaging.
Innovation will continue to focus on improving the barrier properties of multilayer plastic and laminate formulations for food applications, or maintaining performance while reducing the thickness of the film. Simultaneously, new high-speed filling equipment that holds containers by their neck fixtures will allow flexible formats to displace rigid PET in the beverage segment where its penetration has hitherto been limited.