Worldwide demand for rigid packaging is forecast to increase 6.4% pa to US$472 bln in 2016, as per ReportLinker. 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. The largest markets for rigid packaging are food and beverages, which together represented 64% 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 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. 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 3% 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% of global value gains in rigid packaging demand between 2011 and 2016.
Research firm Pira International says the value of rigid plastic packaging, which is about 21% of the global packaging market, will rise from US$144 bln in 2010 to more than US$200 bln in 2016, while flexible plastic packaging will grow from US$130 bln to more than US$163 bln in the same time frame. The report forecasts that the total global packaging market will exceed US$820 bln by 2016. Looking at Pira's expected 2016 market shares by material types shows board packaging maintaining its number one position with more than US$250 bln in demand. However, when the rigid plastic and flexible plastic packaging markets get combined, the combined total of more than US$363 bln confirms plastics as the economically dominant packaging material. metal packaging will be losing market share, especially to rigid plastic, and dropping to 14% of the market by 2016 from its current 15% share. It also expects demand growth for glass containers to slow between now and 2016. Geographically USA which was the largest consumer of packaging in 2010 with demand of US$137 bln, will be surpassed by China in 2017, and that a leading factor driving a 3% annual growth rate in the overall market is the emerging economies. Increasing personal disposable income, will lead to increased consumption in countries such as China, India, Brazil, and some Eastern European states, thereby creating more demand for packaging. The report says food and beverage packaging will still be the largest end-use market in 2016, but also notes the value of healthcare packaging growing by 4.5% pa and cosmetics packaging gaining by 4.2% pa.