The global polyethylene industry experienced strong growth over the last five years and is expected to continue advancing as it reaches approximately US$148.1 bln in 2017 with a CAGR of 3.5% over next five years, as per Lucintel. Strategies such as new product innovation, processes, and feedstock technologies are expected to help players capture market share.
APAC dominates the polyethylene market and represents 41.8% of the global market. A combination of factors such as feedstock price (crude oil and naphtha), feedstock availability, lightweight properties, energy costs, environmental issues, and government regulations are affecting the industry dynamics significantly. Polyethylene is a consolidated industry and consists of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), and low-density polyethylene (LDPE) as the segments. Lucintel’s research indicates that in 2011 the industry witnessed solid growth over 2010 due, in part, to increased government stimulus packages in infrastructure developments in the piping sector of pipe industry. APAC is forecast to witness the highest growth during 2012-2017. APAC and the Rest of the World (ROW) both represent sound market growth potential for the polyethylene industry during the forecast period. China and India are expected to drive the polyethylene industry due to low-cost labor, downstream processing capacity additions, and government-supported subsidy packages. They they present great growth potential in the plastic films and sheet market. The introduction of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene and sugarcane-based polyethylene are emerging trends that are expected to affect the future growth in the industry.
The study indicates that innovations in packaging, rising living standards and population, growing demand in end user markets, and emerging economies are anticipated to boost the industry.The industry is expected to face certain challenges such as regulatory standards to reduce CO2emissions, fluctuation of crude oil prices, product commoditization, and high cost of polypropylene.