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The global polyethylene market size was USD 103.49 billion in 2018 is projected to reach USD 143.30 billion by 2026, exhibiting a CAGR of 4.1% during the forecast period.
Polyethylene (PE), also known as polythene or polyethene is a thermoplastic polymer comprising of long chains of ethylene monomer. PE is a member of the family of polyolefin resins. The polymerization processes used to produce polyethylene from ethylene include radical polymerization, anionic addition polymerization, cationic addition polymerization, and ion coordination polymerization. Different quality of polyethylene requires different manufacturing methods such as plastic welding, lamination, compounding, and extrusion.
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The properties of polyethylene make it popular in industries related to mainly packaging and construction. Polyethylene offers reduced weight, high ductility, excellent chemical resistance, good electrical treeing resistance, and increased impact strength for the products at a lower cost. Polyethene is the most widely used polymer in the world, in the form of different products such as shopping bags, food wraps, detergent bottles, and automobile fuel tanks. In the current PE market scenario, PE is mainly used in the manufacturing of pipes, protective sheeting, barrier films, curing materials, and others.
“Rising Demand for Polyethylene in Various End-Use Industries”
The demand for polyethylene is gaining momentum in various industries such as automotive, electrical & electronics, food & beverage, and consumer goods. Property such as high rigidity makes polyethylene suitable for industrial uses, mainly for packaging of automotive and electrical spare parts. In the automotive industry, manufacturers are focusing on increasing the efficiency of vehicles by reducing the weight of the vehicles. Polyethylene material is preferred as it is light in weight, offers easy processability, sealing and stiffness properties.
In the food & beverage industry, consumption for polyethylene is growing at a rapid pace due to the rising demand from the production of packaging materials for food & beverages. The manufacturers prefer effective packaging to reduce the possibility of food contamination and loss of quality. Polyethene has moisture barrier property that protects the food & beverages from external as well as internal environments. This property is expected to fuel the demand for polyethylene from the food & beverage industry.
The use of PE in fashion, sports, and toys is growing due to its ability to resist physical stresses, durability, provide flexibility in packaging, and allow easy molding of products. In the agriculture industry, the application of polyethylene is growing owing to increasing demand for drippers, microtubes, nozzles, and emitting pipes at irrigation fields. Therefore, an increase in the application of polyethylene across food & beverage, agriculture, automotive, electrical & electronics, and consumer goods industries is propelling the polyethylene market share.
“The HDPE Segment is Expected to Generate the Highest Revenue during the Forecast Period.”
The PE market is segmented into high-density polyethylene (HDPE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), and linear-low density polyethylene (LLDPE), on the basis of types. Amongst these, HDPE has the largest market owing to its characteristics such as low manufacturing cost, high strength to density ratio, and high-temperature resistance. The physical properties of HDPE vary depending on the molding process used to manufacture it. HDPE is highly resistant to various types of solvents and has wide variety of applications such as ballistic plates, bottles caps, boats, chemical resistant piping, food storage containers, and others.
LDPE is mainly used for packaging owing to its properties such as chemical resistance, flexibility, and softness. LDPE is majorly used in the food industry for packaging applications. The packaging is one of the largest applications for LDPE due to its high demand from Asia Pacific. The rise in demand for lightweight packaging in industries such as electronics, healthcare, and food & beverages is driving the demand for LDPE in the polyethylene market trends.
LLDPE produced by copolymerization of ethylene with butene, and small amounts of hexene and octene, using Ziegler-Natta catalyst, has the structure similar to that of LDPE. LLDPE is used to produce a wide range of products. LLDPE is usually processed unaccompanied or is blended with LDPE and HDPE and its properties can be altered by varying the type and amount of chemicals. Properties of LLDPE such as high tensile strength, high impact resistance, and flexibility make it suitable for industries such as packaging, agriculture, building & construction, and healthcare.
“The Packaging Segment Accounted for the Largest Market Share in 2018, and is Expected to Continue to Remain Leading Throughout the Forecast Period.”
The polyethylene (PE) market is categorized into packaging, automotive, infrastructure & construction, consumer goods/lifestyle, healthcare & pharmaceuticals, electrical & electronics, agriculture, and others, on the basis of end use industry. Amongst these, the packaging segment accounted for the largest market share in 2018 and is expected to remain largest throughout the forecast period owing to the increasing use of polyethylene in the manufacturing of various packaging solutions for food & beverage industry.
The infrastructure & construction market segment is considered to be the second most prominent segment in terms of end use industry. The increasing use of the PE in the manufacturing of various construction materials such as films and sheets for windows, flooring, countertop, roofing, cover building materials, and seal off rooms is expected to surge the demand for PE from the infrastructure & construction end use industry.
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Similarly, the consumer goods/lifestyle end-use industry is expected to provide significant growth to the polyethene market sales in the forecast period due to increased demand for fashion appeals, housewares, ice boxes, sports goods, and toys from various regions. The properties such as high durability, easy moldability and flexibility will support the manufacture of various products including plastic containers, housewares, ice boxes, sports goods, toys and packaging material for these products. These factors will further boost the polyethylene market growth.
The Asia Pacific accounted for highest share of the PE market in 2018 and is expected to remain the largest throughout the forecast period. This largest share is associated with the presence of leading polyethylene consuming countries such as China and India in the region. Increasing demand for polyethylene in these countries is attributed to the industries such as packaging, and infrastructure & construction, which are driving the PE market in the Asia Pacific region. Additionally, the high demand for PE from the consumer goods industry for the manufacture of toys, textiles, and sports goods is also driving the PE market in the Asia Pacific.
Europe accounted for the second-largest share of the market. The increasing demand for polyethylene from the automotive industry is expected to contribute to polyethylene market revenue in the region. Polyethylene is the most preferred polymer among the numerous polymers used in Europe due to its properties such as electric insulation, corrosion inhibition, good heat resistance, and low density. The use of polyethylene in infrastructure & construction is another end-use industry which is expected to increase the use of polyethylene because of its high rigidity and tensile strength.
North America Polyethylene Market Size, 2018
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On the other hand, North America is projected to witness significant growth in the global polyethylene market. In North America, the U.S. accounted for the largest market share due to high polyethylene demand from healthcare & pharmaceuticals, electrical & electronics, packaging, and automotive industries. The U.S. is dominating because of the availability of petrochemicals at fair rates which is reducing barriers for the production of polyethylene, rising demand for consumer goods, and rising electrical & electronics, automotive and medical industries.
In the Middle East & Africa, the increased demand for polyethylene by the packaging and consumer goods industries is one of the major factors influencing the growth. The rise in demand for safe and viable packaging, increasing urbanization and increasing number of packaging companies are some the factors expected to boost the polythene market growth in this region. Latin America is expected to observe substantial growth in the market. Brazil is the largest market for polyethylene in this region. Owing to its characteristics such as strength and durability, PE is used in numerous applications comprising of bottles, plastic bags, and construction materials.
“Market Players like LyondellBasell, ExxonMobil, and SABIC Would Strengthen the Market Position with Respect to Providing Polyethylene Solutions to the Packaging Industry”
The major producers of polyethylene are present throughout the globe. One of the major company LyondellBasell deals with plastics, chemicals, and refining sectors and provides wide variety of polyethylene products. The company has shown dominance around the globe by applying the acquisition strategy. ExxonMobil is expanding throughout the globe by using a strategy such as joint venture and by providing a diversified range of polyethylene products. SABIC has a strong influence in Middle East & Africa region and it provides numerous grades of polyethylene products. The company adopted the strategy of joint venture to increase its presence in the polyethylene market outlook.
"A growing trend observed in the penetration of the polyethylene market across the industries"
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Along with this, the report provides an elaborative analysis of the global polyethylene (PE) market dynamics and competitive landscape. Various key insights presented in the report are the price trend analysis, recent industry developments in the global polyethene market, the regulatory scenario in crucial countries, macro, and microeconomic factors, SWOT analysis, and key industry trends, competitive landscape and company profiles.
Value (USD Million) and Volume (Kiloton)
By End Use Industry
Fortune Business Insights says that the polyethylene market was valued at USD 103.49 Bn in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 143.30 Bn by 2026.
Growing at a CAGR of 4.1%, the polyethylene market will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2019-2026)
The packaging segment is expected to be leading in the polyethylene market during the forecast period.