UK • Smithers Pira released a new report forecasting the global packaging industry to grow at an annual rate of 3.5% over the period 2015–20. It’s expected to reach USD 998 billion at today’s prices. Flexible plastic packaging is predicted to continue as the fastest growing packaging category. This forecast growth is expected to be driven by Asia and stronger growth in regions that have struggled in recent years, particularly Western and Eastern Europe. The report, The Future of Global Packaging to 2020, focused on 17 major and 33 smaller markets.
The market for global packaging amounted to USD 812 billion in 2014, with an annual growth rate of 4.2% over the period 2010–14, according to the report. Flexible plastic packaging was the fastest growing market globally in 2014, followed by rigid plastic packaging, and board packaging as the third fastest growing sector. Asia accounted for the largest share of the packaging market in 2014, followed by North America and Western Europe. Growth in packaging consumption has remained positive and reliably strong for the Asian region. There is still much potential for growth as the consumption of fast-moving consumer goods grows.
In addition to market sizes, the report examined market and technology trends for the next five years. Sustainability has become an increasingly prominent issue. One of the main packaging developments in recent years is the increased incorporation of bio-based PET into brands packaging supply chain. This issue enhances the focus and presence of lightweighting. A common trend for packaging converters has been to reduce the weight of their products in order to reduce costs associated with transportation, reduce CO2 emissions and to help create a more sustainable supply chain. In the last 20 years, the weight of an average 50cl (17oz) plastic bottle has been reduced by about 50%.