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Polyethylene Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Type (HDPE/MDPE, LDPE, LLDPE), By End-use Industry (Packaging, Automotive, Infrastructure & Construction, Consumer Goods/Lifestyle, Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals, Electrical & Electronics, Agriculture, and Others), and Regional Forecast, 2022-2029

Region : Global | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI101584



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The global polyethylene market size was valued at USD 102.49 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow from USD 106.14 billion in 2022 to USD 140.21 billion by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 4.1% during the forecast period. The global COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented and staggering, with polyethylene experiencing lower-than-anticipated demand across all regions compared to pre-pandemic levels. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a decline of 4.2% in 2020 as compared to 2019.

The properties of polyethylene (PE) make it popular in industries mainly related to packaging and construction. This polymer offers reduced weight, high ductility, excellent chemical resistance, good electrical treeing resistance, and increased impact strength for the products at a lower cost. It is the most widely used polymer in the world used in the form of different products such as shopping bags, food wraps, detergent bottles, and automobile fuel tanks. For instance, A-Pac Manufacturing Co., Inc. produces bags, and Merck KGaA produces BRAND wide-mouth bottles made from this polymer. Moreover, the growing demand for bio-based polyurethane, growing industrialization, and rapid growth of the packaging industry are expected to promote market growth during the forecast timeframe.       


COVID-19 Pandemic Negatively Affected Market Growth Owing to Fluctuating Prices of Crude Oil

Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, PE supply will be affected as the demand from industries, such as automotive, electrical & electronics, and consumer goods, will decline. Crude oil prices were reduced due to collapse in demand and excess supply. This resulted in PE price decline and affected the market growth. Additionally, decreasing production activities in various industries and increasing restrictions due to lockdown globally reduced the rate of operations. However, polyethylene is set to experience high demand from healthcare and packaging industries. The increasing demand for single-use plastic products, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), sampling containers, curtains, and saline bottles will propel the polyethylene market growth.


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High Demand for PE-based Packaging of Food & Beverages and Consumer Goods to Propel Market Progress

Manufacturers prefer PE for the packaging end-use industry owing to its properties such as resistance to moisture, easy customization, and durability. Polythene is an economical material that acts as an advantage for the purpose of packaging. Easy recyclability, resistance to chemicals, and ability to protect the contained product from any external disturbances have made this polymer an ideal material. It is showcasing a propelling demand from the consumer goods, food, and beverage industries owing to the above mentioned factors.


Rising Demand from Various End-use Industries to Fuel Market Growth

The demand for PE is gaining momentum in various industries such as automotive, electrical & electronics, food & beverage, and consumer goods. Properties, such as high rigidity, make it suitable for industrial uses, mainly for packaging automotive and electrical spare parts. In the automotive industry, manufacturers focus on increasing vehicles' efficiency by reducing their weight. PE is preferred as it is light in weight and offers easy processability, sealing, and stiffness properties.

In the food & beverage industry, the consumption of the product is growing at a rapid pace due to the rising demand for the production of packaging materials for food & beverages. Manufacturers prefer effective packaging to reduce the possibility of food contamination and loss of quality. Polyethylene has a moisture barrier property that protects food & beverages from external as well as internal environments. This property is expected to fuel the demand for materials from this industry.

The use of PE in fashion apparel, sports goods, and toys is growing due to its ability to resist physical stresses, provide durability & flexibility in packaging, and allow easy molding of products. In the agriculture industry, the application of this polymer is growing owing to the increasing demand for drippers, microtubes, nozzles, and emitting pipes in irrigation fields.


Availability of Substitutes Including PU and PET Products to Limit Product Adoption Globally

The availability of substitute products, such as polypropylene and Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), poses a threat to the market's growth. These types of plastics portray properties similar to PE, such as impact resistance, chemical resistance, flexibility, moldability, and low cost, which is expected to hinder the market's growth. In addition, the fluctuating prices of raw materials may negatively affect the market's growth by affecting the final product's cost structure, thereby restraining the market growth.


By Type Analysis

HDPE/MDPE Segment to Generate Highest Revenue Stoked by Low Manufacturing Cost

By type, the market is segmented into High-density Polyethylene (HDPE) / Medium-density Polyethylene (MDPE), Low-density Polyethylene (LDPE), and Linear Low-density Polyethylene (LLDPE). Amongst these, the HDPE/MDPE segment holds the largest share 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 that is used to manufacture it. HDPE is highly resistant to various types of solvents and has a wide variety of industries such as ballistic plates, bottle caps, boats, chemical-resistant piping, food storage containers, and others.

LDPE is mainly used for packaging due to its chemical resistance, flexibility, and softness. It is majorly used in the food industry for the packaging industry. The rising demand for lightweight packaging in electronics, healthcare, and food & beverages is further surging the demand for LDPE in the market.

LLDPE is produced by copolymerizing ethylene with butene and small amounts of hexene and octene, using Ziegler-Natta catalyst, and has a structure similar to that of LDPE. The former is used to produce a wide range of products. It is usually processed unaccompanied or blended with LDPE and HDPE. Its properties can be altered by varying the type and amount of chemicals. The properties of LLDPE, such as high tensile strength, high impact resistance, and flexibility, make it suitable for packaging, agriculture, healthcare, and construction industries.

By End-use Industry Analysis

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Packaging Segment to Lead Backed by Rising Demand from Food & Beverages Industry

The market is categorized into packaging, automotive, infrastructure & construction, consumer goods/lifestyle, healthcare & pharmaceuticals, electrical & electronics, agriculture, and others based on end-use industry. Amongst these, the packaging segment accounted for the largest polyethylene market share in 2021 and is the fastest growing segment throughout the forecast period owing to increasing use of this resin in the manufacturing of various packaging solutions in the food & beverage industry. According to the Flexible Packaging Association, the food & beverage industry accounts for over 60% of the flexible packaging market.

The infrastructure & construction segment is considered the second most prominent segment in the end-use industry. The increasing use of the product in manufacturing various construction materials, such as films and sheets, for windows, flooring, countertop, roofing, cover building materials, and seal-off rooms is expected to surge its demand in this industry.

Similarly, the consumer goods/lifestyle industry is expected to enhance PE sales during the forecast period due to increased demand for fashion apparel, housewares, ice boxes, sports goods, and toys from various regions. Properties, such as high durability, easy moldability, and flexibility, will support manufacturing the above-mentioned products. 


Asia Pacific Polyethylene Market Size, 2021 (USD Billion)

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Asia Pacific accounted for the highest value of USD 48.80 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at the highest growth rate throughout the forecast period due to the region's leading consuming countries such as China and India. According to Plastivision, the demand for PE would grow at a rate of 9.0% by 2023 in India. Its increasing demand from industries, such as packaging and infrastructure & construction, coupled with rapid industrialization, is driving the market growth in this country.

Europe accounted for the second-largest share in the global market. The increasing demand for plastic products from the automotive industry is expected to contribute to the high market revenue in the region. PE is the most preferred polymer among others used in Europe due to its properties such as electric insulation, corrosion inhibition, good heat resistance, and low density.

On the other hand, North America is projected to showcase significant growth in the global market. The U.S. accounted for the largest share due to high demand for this polymer from healthcare & pharmaceuticals, electrical & electronics, packaging, and automotive industries. Also, the rising demand for consumer goods and the increasing development of this region's electrical & electronics, automotive, and medical industries would augment market growth.

In the Middle East & Africa, increasing demand from the packaging and consumer goods industries is one of the major factors influencing growth. The rising demand for safe and viable packaging, increasing urbanization, and the surging number of packaging companies are some of the factors expected to boost the market growth in this region. Latin America is expected to observe substantial growth in the market. Brazil is the largest country in this region. Owing to its characteristics, such as high strength and durability, the material is used in numerous applications consisting of bottles, plastic bags, and construction materials in the region.


Companies Implemented Business Expansion and Acquisition Strategies to Retain their Market Share

The major manufacturers of PE are present throughout the globe. One of the reputed companies named LyondellBasell, deals with plastics, chemicals, and refining sectors. It provides a wide variety of PE products. The company has shown dominance around the globe by applying acquisition strategies. ExxonMobil, on the other hand, is expanding throughout the globe by using strategies, such as joint ventures and acquisition, by providing a diversified range of polymer products. Besides, SABIC has a strong influence in the Middle East & Africa, and it provides numerous grades of polymer products. The company adopted the strategy of a joint venture to increase its presence in the market.



  • April 2022: ExxonMobil launched Exceed S performance PE resins that offer stiffness and toughness properties while being easy to process. The new PE platform will help the company to offer lucrative market opportunities to decrease the complexity of film designs and formulations while improving conversion efficiency, film performance, and packaging durability versus current market references.

  • August 2021: Braskem launched HD1954M, a high-density PE, which provides a combination of excellent impact strength, high rigidity, and Environmental Stress Cracking (ESCR), rendering packaging optimization and productivity gains. This launch will help the company to meet the demands from the agrochemical and chemical markets.

  • December 2020: INEOS acquired the remaining 50% interest in the Gemini HDPE joint venture from Sasol Chemicals. The acquisition increased the group’s interest in Gemini to 100%.

  • September 2020: INEOS Olefins & Polymers Europe announced the expansion of the Recycl-IN range of products. Through this partnership, INEOS Olefins & Polymers can develop high-performance polyethylene Recycl-IN resins, which meet the needs of converters, brand owners, and retailers in using more than 60% recycled plastics in demanding applications, such as stretch and lamination films, particularly used in flexible pouches for personal care product and detergents.

  • June 2020: Thong Guan and Dow Chemicals collaborated to launch a bio-based polyethylene product series. The PE film will be targeted to meet the increasing demand for plastic films in Asia Pacific.


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The research report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on crucial aspects such as leading companies, types, end-use industries, and products. Also, it provides quantitative data regarding volume and value, market analysis, research methodology for market data, and market insights into polyethylene market trends. It highlights vital industry developments and competitive landscape. In addition, the report encompasses various factors that have contributed to the growth of the market in recent years.

Report Scope & Segmentation 



Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



Value (USD Billion); Volume (Million Ton)


By Type, End-use Industry, and Geography

By Type

  • High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)/ Medium-density Polyethylene (MDPE)

  • Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

  • Linear low-density Polyethylene (LLDPE)

By End-use Industry

  • Packaging

  • Automotive

  • Infrastructure & Construction

  • Consumer Goods/Lifestyle

  • Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals

  • Electrical & Electronics

  • Agriculture

  • Others

By Geography

  • North America (By Type, By End-use Industry, By Country)

    • U.S.

    • Canada

  • Europe (By Type, By End-use Industry, By Country)

    • Germany

    • France

    • U.K.

    • Italy

    • Spain

    • Rest of Europe

  • Asia Pacific (By Type, By End-use Industry, By Country)

    • China

    • Japan

    • India 

    • South Korea

    • Southeast Asia 

    • Rest of Asia Pacific

  • Latin America (By Type, By End-use Industry, By Country)

    • Brazil

    • Mexico

    • Rest of Latin America

  • Middle East & Africa (By Type, By End-use Industry, By Country)

    • South Arabia

    • UAE

    • Egypt 

    • Rest of Middle East & Africa

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 102.49 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 140.21 billion by 2029.

In 2021, the market value stood at USD 102.49 billion.

Registering a significant CAGR of 4.1%, the market will exhibit considerable growth in the forecast period (2022-2029).

The metal products segment is expected to lead the market during the forecast period.

Rising product demand from various end-use industries, including automotive and electrical & electronics to fuel growth.

China held the highest share in the market in 2021.

LyondellBasell Industries N.V., ExxonMobil Chemical, and China National Petroleum Corporation are the leading players in the market.

The rapid growth in the food & beverages industry and growing technological advancement are anticipated to boost the consumption of the product.

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