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The global plastics market size was valued at USD 570.83 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow from USD 507.16 billion in 2023 to USD 717.17 billion by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 5.1% during the forecast period.
Plastics are polymers that are used to manufacture various products, including paper clips, spacecraft, and others due to their versatility, easy manufacturing, moldability, lightweight, waterproof nature, and low cost. They are traditionally derived from petroleum and natural gas. The depleting sources of polymers have encouraged manufacturers to use renewable sources. The plastics manufactured using renewable biomass sources, such as corn starch, vegetable oil, food waste, and sawdust, are called bioplastics. Moreover, rising awareness about the environmental harm caused by polymers influences manufacturers to develop recyclable products. Rising demand for high-performance plastic packaging solutions for the protection of products coupled with increasing technological advancement are the key factors driving the market.
Supply Chain Uncertainties Caused by COVID-19 Hindered Market Growth
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the plastics demand from the automotive and building & construction industries has declined substantially. This decline was associated with decreased manufacturing activities in these industries along with lockdown restrictions imposed globally. Additionally, the significant drop in prices of crude oil due to the decline in demand and lower storage capacity for oversupply reduced market growth. On the contrary, the demand from the medical industry for producing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as face masks, goggles, shields, gloves, respirators, gowns, and coveralls, will propel the market. For instance, according to the National Health Service trust in Lincolnshire, England, about 2.3 billion PPE products were distributed to health & social care personnel in England between February and July 2020.
Increasing Demand for Engineering Plastics Due to their Properties to Favor the Market Growth
Engineering plastics being more robust and durable than regular ones have increased product demand. They provide better thermal and mechanical properties and are lightweight and cost-effective. The rising need for greater polymer solutions for different end-use industries, such as componentry, machinery, and construction, supports the market expansion. Moreover, the rising demand for metal substitution increasingly leads to broader usage of engineering polymers in various industries. These materials offer more decisive benefits over metal structures in automotive engineering, construction, solar, and water industries. As per DSM, several global OEMs are replacing metal parts with engineered plastic components and materials. For instance, the crankshaft covers for Volkswagen earlier, made from aluminum, are now made from polymers. This resulted in about 40% weight reduction of the part.
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Rising Demand from the Packaging Industry to Drive the Consumption of Plastics
Plastic demand is advancing in widespread industries, such as food & beverage, consumer goods, automotive, and electrical & electronics. The increasing need for packaging from the food & beverage industry drives product consumption globally. Food manufacturers prefer packaging that minimizes food quality degradation and avoids contamination. The ability of plastics to act as a hurdle between food products and the external environment is fueling the demand.
Besides, the ability of polymers to defend against physical stress and offer high durability is increasing their usage in sports goods, fashion wear, toy-making, and polymer clay. Moreover, they are easy to mold and offer flexibility to produce packaging in any size and shape. Their utility is surging in the textile industry due to their high durability, elasticity, and enhanced visual appeal. Moreover, polymers are rigid, making them suitable for packing automotive and electrical spare parts. Thus, the increasing application across food & beverage, electrical & electronics, textile, automobile, and consumer goods industries is augmenting the plastics market growth.
High Cost Compared to Conventional Plastics to Restrain Market Growth
Regulations over product usage are likely to affect market growth. Stringent government regulations and other policies have come into the picture due to the growing concerns over the damage caused by polymers to the environment. To reduce the environmental pollution caused due to plastic use, many governments and companies have tried to utilize non-plastic and greener alternatives. For example, the UN Environment Program (UNEP) started a Clean Seas campaign in 2017 in more than 50 countries. It appeals to the government to enforce plastic reduction policies, encourage industries to minimize polymer-based packaging and change their products. Many countries, including India, have also committed to removing single-use polymers. The shift toward sustainable products over plastic use acts as a restraining factor for the global market growth.
Moreover, in March 2022, several environment ministers and delegates from 175 countries supported a historic resolution to eradicate plastic waste and develop an international legal agreement by 2024 at the UN Environment Assembly organized in Nairobi.
Polyethylene and Polypropylene Types Lead the Market Due to their Increasing Adoption in Packaging Products
Based on type, the market is segmented into polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polyvinyl chloride, polypropylene, polyamide, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, polycarbonate, polyurethane, polystyrene, and others. Amongst these, polyethylene and polypropylene are the major types due to their augmented demand from the application areas such as packaging and automotive. Several manufacturers use polymers for packaging their products due to their durability and act as a barrier to prevent the product from moisture. The usage in the automotive industry is increasing as manufacturers are reducing the vehicle's weight to increase efficiency and minimize carbon emissions.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is mainly used in producing pipes & fittings owing to its numerous advantageous properties such as electric insulation, high elasticity modulus, thermal insulation, and chemical resistance. The construction industry uses PVC products, such as frames, doors, and windows, with their longer life cycle, enhanced looks, and easy availability of material. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) is used on a large scale for applications such as bottling and packaging. It observed high demand for packaging in food & beverage industries as it is lightweight, non-toxic, strong, and can be recycled easily. Due to its strong and flexible nature, PET material is also used for 3D printing.
Polyamide is majorly used in industries, such as textile, and others, owing to its solid and flexible properties. It exhibits good elasticity, high tensile strength, and is wrinkle-proof. These benefits make it suitable for clothes, mats, and other products. Polyurethane, in foam form, observed high demand in the furniture and automotive industries. Polycarbonate is mainly used for electrical & electronics applications due to its high electrical insulation property.
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) is a rigid and sturdy polymer that provides resistance to chemicals. Hence, it is used in camera bodies, housing appliances, packing crates, and luggage. Polystyrene has exhibited high demand from electronics and packaging industries owing to its insulating and cushioning properties.
Rising Food & Beverage Industry to Boost Packaging Segment Revenue
In terms of end-use industry, the market is segmented into automotive & transportation, packaging, consumer goods/lifestyle, infrastructure & construction, healthcare & pharmaceutical, electrical & electronics, textile, and others. The packaging segment will hold the highest plastics market share and grow at the highest CAGR during the industry forecast period. This growth is associated with high product demand from the food & beverage packaging industry. The increasing use in manufacturing construction products, such as films for windows, floor covering, and pipes and fittings, is boosting product adoption in the infrastructure & construction industry.
Similarly, the rapidly growing consumer goods/lifestyle and automotive & transportation end-use industries are expected to aid the market in the assessment period. The rising adoption of polymers in the automobile industry to increase vehicle efficiency and the vehicle components’ life is responsible for the growth in the market. These polymers are easily moldable, flexible, and highly durable, which makes them the most favored material for manufacturing numerous products such as housewares, iceboxes, toys, packaging materials, and containers.
The increasing utilization of polymers in the healthcare sector can be credited to their property of guarding against contaminants by acting as a hurdle. Healthcare products, such as bandage strips, gloves, blood bags, syringes, and prosthetics, are manufactured using several polymers. The electrical & electronics industry produces light fittings, household appliances, and switches due to their insulating properties.
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Asia Pacific Plastics Market Size, 2022 (USD Billion)
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Asia Pacific is estimated to hold the largest market share, accounting for USD 316.10 billion in 2022. China is anticipated to remain the leading country in the region due to the abundant availability of raw materials at low rates. This is further minimizing the hurdles involved in plastic production. The growth in Asia Pacific is also attributed to the strong growth in the packaging and construction industries. Additionally, rising demand from the consumer goods industry for manufacturing toys, textiles, and sports goods is expected to drive the market in the region.
In North America, the U.S. held the largest market share, backed by increasing product demand from the electrical & electronics, healthcare & pharmaceuticals, and packaging industries. Concerns over plastic pollution and the development of recyclable technologies have increased the adoption of recycled plastics in the region.
Europe is anticipated to have substantial growth in this market, owing to the rising demand from the automotive sector in the region. Additionally, properties, including excellent heat resistance, corrosion inhibition, electric insulation, and low density, support the adoption of polymers in Europe.
The key factor influencing the growth in the Middle East & Africa will be the growing demand from the textile and packaging industries. The surging demand for lightweight packaging and the use of polymers over metal and glass are set to boost the regional market. Furthermore, Latin America is projected to grow due to rising urbanization and the growing number of companies specializing in industrial packaging solutions.
Key Players to Strengthen Position Offering Innovative Solutions to the Packaging Industry
Most of the major companies in the market have global presence. For example, LyondellBasell is involved in refining activities and produces several chemicals and polymer-based products. The company has established its presence worldwide by using production capacity expansion and acquisition strategies. It is also keeping up with the latest trends in this market to serve its consumer base efficiently. For instance, in May 2021, the company announced producing virgin quality polymers from raw materials derived from plastic trash at its plant in Wesseling, Germany.
Similarly, ExxonMobil is expanding its business globally by adopting joint ventures and new product development strategies. SABIC, another key player, has a strong presence in the Middle East & Africa. The company offers different types of polymers that have helped it expand through joint ventures.
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The report offers an in-depth industry analysis and highlights key factors such as leading players, types, and end-use industry. Also, the report offers insights into market trends and highlights vital industry developments. In addition to the factors mentioned above, the report encompasses various factors that have contributed to the growth of the market in recent years.
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CAGR of 5.1% from 2023 to 2030
Value (USD Billion) and Volume (Million Ton)
By Type, End-Use Industry, and Geography
By End-Use Industry
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 570.83 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach USD 717.17 billion by 2030.
In 2022, the market value stood at USD 570.83 billion.
Registering a CAGR of 5.1%, the market will exhibit rapid growth in the forecast period (2023-2030).
The packaging segment is the leading segment based on the end-use industry.
Rising product demand for high-performance packaging solutions is the key factor driving the market growth.
LyondellBasell, ExxonMobil Chemical, INEOS, and SABIC are a few of the leading players in the global market.
Asia Pacific held the highest share of the global market in 2022.
The rising demand for recyclable plastics from the packaging industry is the key trend leading to the market growth.
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