[Industry Outlook] In 2021, The Global Packaging Demand Will Break The 1 Trillion Mark, And China Will Still Be The Fastest Growing Country in The Next Five Years
After a slowdown in 2020, the global packaging market returned to steady growth in 2021 as COVID-19 disrupted several end-use industries. According to smithers's latest study, The Future of Global Packaging to 2026, the total value will hit an all-time milestone of $1.01 trillion in 2021.
Smithers forecasts a return to a stable compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.9% in 2021-2026, after achieving 4.8% growth in 2020-2021. At constant prices, this would produce a total market value of $1.22 trillion in 2026.
This expansion depends on responding to new demand, consumer demand and changes in the distribution channels for packaged goods. Smithers's new study tracks eight regions and 57 leading national markets in detail.
Meanwhile, China remains the world's largest market, worth just $256 billion in 2021, according to the data. It will also be the fastest growing country by 2026, further consolidating its dominance. That surpasses the US ($197.2 billion), Japan ($53.2 billion), India ($48.2 billion) and Germany ($39.3 billion) in 2021.
North America will expand at the slowest rate over the next five years, while a rapid recovery in China's economy and consumption will make Asia a major contributor to world growth.
Worldwide, sales of cardboard packaging, corrugated, folded cartons and liquid packaging boards are expected to grow at the fastest rate over the next five years. This can be attributed to several factors, starting with a growing preference for fibre packaging, which is in line with brand owners' sustainable development goals and legislation focusing on the transition to a circular economy model. Cardboard packaging, especially corrugated, has benefited from a surge in e-commerce sales during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the use of folding cartons will increase in four areas - luxury goods, pharmaceuticals, beverages and retail food.
The second fastest growing material will be rigid and flexible plastics. While these packages are generally regarded as the most unsustainable types of packaging, they will all benefit from design innovations and a host of new recycling technologies, both mechanical and chemical, over the five-year period Smithers forecasts. They will also continue to be popular in developing markets, where they offer convenient, efficient and low-cost solutions as consumers shift to buying more packaged goods.
Growth rates for glass, metals, other packaging and soft paper are expected to be below the global average. Consumption of flexible foils is expected to decline as forms such as multi-layer boards are replaced by single-material barrier plastics.
Industrial/transportation was the largest packaging end-use application, accounting for 41.6 percent of global sales in 2020, followed by food (29.6 percent) and beverages (13.9 percent). The healthcare sector is expected to see the fastest growth in package sales, followed by food and then beverages. In the industrial sector, IBC sales are expected to grow the fastest due to the durability and reusability of plastic and steel drums.
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