US demand to reach $3.1 billion in 2019
US demand for stretch and shrink film will increase by 3.4 percent annually to $3.1 billion in 2019. Gains will be driven by the increasing utilization of film for the bundling and protection of goods during warehousing and distribution, as well as competitive advantages over other materials in product packaging applications. Other growth factors will include resin and machinery improvements and opportunities in areas such as stretch labels and shrink sleeves. Advances in value terms will be limited, however, by an expected slowdown in stretch and shrink film prices as plastic resin costs moderate from the 2009-2014 period.
LLDPE is leading stretch & shrink film resin
Nearly two billion pounds of plastic resins were used in stretch and shrink film in 2014. Linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) is the dominant resin due to its competitive cost and durability in a multitude of conditions as well as its downgauging capabilities. Conventional low density polyethylene (LDPE) will grow at an inproved rate compared to the 2004-2014 decade, as its clarity, ease of heat forming and drawdown characteristics will help the resin maintain its leading position in shrink packaging applications. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) will see the slowest growth of any major resin through 2019, as growth from in-creased shrink label applications will be offset by the loss of market share to LLDPE and LDPE. Other smaller stretch and shrink film resins, including high density polyethylene (HDPE), polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and biodegradable resins, will experience above-average growth in demand as a whole going forward.
Shrink film to outpace larger stretch film segment
Stretch film will increase by 3.4 percent annually to $2.1 billion dollars in 2019, benefiting from advantages in labor and energy savings. The most rapid growth is anticipated for stretch hoods due to their high throughput rate -- allowing loads to be wrapped in a shorter amount of time-- and excellent load integrity. Demand for shrink film will grow at a slightly faster pace than stretch film through 2019. Advances will be promoted by shrink film’s high clarity and excellent print capabilities, greatly enhancing product marketability in packaging applications. Growth will also be aided by increased usage in labels for beverages and other products.
Storage & distribution market to post above average growth in demand
The storage and distribution market for stretch and shrink film will post above-average increases through 2019 and ac-count for more than half of total demand. Advances will be stimulated by increased retail trade and industrial activity, as well as export markets. Pallet wrap, due to its superior unitizing qualities and specialized mechanized application processes for mass packing, will comprise the majority of demand. Product packaging demand gains will be spurred by greater prevalence of opportunities in bulk packaging and stretch and shrink label applications, particularly within dairy and beverage markets. Stretch and shrink film advantages include cost effectiveness and source reduction capabilities compared to corrugated boxes and other packaging.