US demand for caps and closures is forecast to increase 4% pa to US$9.5 bln in 2014, reaching 275 billion units. Advances will be aided by greater use of more expensive dispensing closures and child-resistant closures (CRCs). Unit gains will be supported by the continued popularity of single-serving containers, especially in the beverage market, and further inroads by plastic containers in applications formerly dominated by glass and metal containers. These and other trends are presented in a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc. Plastic caps and closures, which comprised 79% of unit demand in 2009, will post above-average unit and value advances, reflecting continued inroads by plastic containers into numerous markets. Plastic cap and closure demand is supported by the long-term shift in the consumer packaging mix away from glass and metal containers to plastic alternatives. Moreover, the compatibility of plastic caps with glass containers and the use of such caps on gabletop cartons will boost growth. However, gains will decelerate from the 1999-2009 performance, reflecting the already significant penetration of plastic containers in most markets. Metal cap and closure demand is expected to decline moderately through 2014 as a result of further inroads by plastic containers and closures and a sluggish outlook for production of beer, the dominant application for metal crowns. Among major cap and closure materials, elastomer and rubber stoppers will experience the fastest growth through 2014 based on increasing preferences for stoppers made from higher value-added elastomeric and synthetic rubber materials.
Beverages, which represented over 50% of unit demand and 31% of value demand in 2009, are the largest market for caps and closures. Through 2014, beverage applications will experience below-average gains based on weak consumption outlooks for major segments such as carbonated soft drinks and beer, and a sharp deceleration for bottled water. Pharmaceutical applications will register the fastest gains through 2014, aided by above-average growth among older segments of the population and the need to comply with regulations and standards governing the child-resistant, senior-friendly and security features of pharmaceutical packaging.