World demand to rise 6.4% annually through 2016
Worldwide demand for rigid packaging is forecast to increase 6.4 percent per year to $472 billion in 2016. Factors contributing to rising demand include growth in global manufacturing output, increased consumer spending on packaged goods worldwide, and demographic trends such as the rising percentage of urban populations, which consume more packaged foods than their rural counterparts. However, environmental concerns will boost demand for flexible packaging products. As a result, gains in rigid packaging demand will lag growth in total packaging demand. Other factors limiting rigid packaging demand include market maturity in developed countries, as well as market saturation in bedrock applications such as bottled and canned beers and carbonated soft drinks.
Food & beverages to remain global market leaders
The largest markets for rigid packaging are food and beverages, which together represented 64 percent of total rigid packaging demand in 2011. Healthy gains are expected for plastic bottles and containers as a result of cost and performance advantages, as well as further development of food-grade materials. Beverage applications for rigid packaging will benefit from expanded processing capacity. Rigid packaging demand in pharmaceutical applications is forecast to see above average growth, boosted by rapidly expanding pharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities, especially in Asia, and in particular for prefillable syringes and vials due to biotechnology advances.
Plastic rigid packaging to register the fastest growth
Plastic will continue to account for the largest share of total demand and will also see the fastest increases, as plastic containers gain market share at the expense of metal, paperboard, and glass packaging in many applications. Gains for plastic containers will be attributable to their cost advantages over alternatives, shatter resistance, ease of opening and dispensing, resealability, and graphics capabilities, as well as improved resin and processing technologies that result in enhanced barrier properties, heat resistance, and design flexibility. Still, metal cans will remain an important segment of the rigid packaging mix due to their durability, long shelf life, tamper resistance, ease of storage, and recyclability. Opportunities for paperboard rigid packaging will arise from heightened demand for recycled content packaging and the promotion of paper as a renewable resource as part of green marketing efforts. On the other hand, the heavier weight of glass containers and their risk of breakage will continue to limit applications -- especially in export markets -- due to high shipping costs.
China to account for largest share of growth
The fastest increases will be seen in the world’s developing regions. The Asia/ Pacific region will remain the largest market, due to its large food and beverage industries. The Africa/Mideast region will also exhibit above average growth, though gains will stem from relatively small bases (the region is the smallest global market, accounting for only three percent of global rigid packaging demand in 2011). Overall, some of the highest growth rates are expected in India, China, and Indonesia, with Brazil, Turkey, Russia, and Mexico expected to register healthy gains. China alone will account for 46 percent of global value gains in rigid packaging demand between 2011 and 2016.