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Plastics Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Type (Polyethylene, Polypropylene, Polyethylene Terephthalate, Polyvinyl Chloride, Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, Polyamide, Polycarbonate, Polyurethane, Polystyrene), By End-Use Industry (Packaging, Automotive & Transportation, Infrastructure & Construction, Consumer Goods/Lifestyle, Healthcare & Pharmaceutical, Electrical & Electronics), and Regional Forecast, 2020-2027

Region : Global | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI102176



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The global plastics market size was USD 450.88 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 579.19 billion by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 4.2% during the forecast period.

Plastics also known as polymers are derived from petrochemicals and renewable sources, such as cotton fibers and corn. The majority of these polymers are composed of chains of carbon atoms with the additions of nitrogen, oxygen, or sulfur. They are used in the production of a wide variety of products ranging from paper clips to spacecraft owing to their versatility, moldability, easy manufacturing, lightweight, low cost, and waterproof nature.

These materials are majorly classified into thermo polymers and thermosetting polymers, depending on their ability to be repeatedly molded by the application of heat. They are also made from renewable biomass sources, such as corn starch, sawdust, vegetable fats and oil, food waste and hence are called biopolymers. The depleting sources of common polymers, such as natural gas and petroleum, have encouraged manufacturers to use renewable sources. Moreover, rising awareness about the environmental harms caused by polymers is influencing the manufacturers to produce recyclable products.

Supply Chain Uncertainties Caused by COVID-19 to Hinder Growth

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the supply of polymer is likely to get affected as the demand from industries such as automotive, and building & construction has declined. Prices of crude oil fell significantly, entering the negative territory, due to demand collapse and lack of storage capacity for excess supply. Additionally, the decrease in production activities in various industries and increasing restrictions on account of lockdown, globally, has reduced operating rates. However, the demand for plastic from the healthcare industry for producing medical personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, face shields, respirators, goggles, gowns, gloves and coveralls will propel the market.  For instance, according to the National Health Service trust in Lincolnshire, England, about 2.3 billion products of PPE were distributed to health & social care personnel in England between February and July 2020.


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Increasing Demand for Engineering Plastics to Favor Growth

Engineering polymers being stronger and more durable than regular ones have increased product demand. They provide better thermal and mechanical properties along with being much lighter and cost-effective. The growing need for better polymer solutions for various applications such as componentry, machinery, and construction is further supporting the market expansion. Moreover, rising demand for metal substitution is increasingly leading to wider usage of engineering polymers in various industries. These materials offer more decisive advantages over metal structures in many industries such as automotive engineering, construction, solar, and water. As per DSM, several global OEMs are replacing metal parts with engineered polymer components. For instance, the crankshaft covers for Volkswagen that were earlier made from aluminum are now made from polymers. This resulted in about 40% weight reduction of the part.


Increasing Demand for Plastics from Packaging Industry to Drive the Market

Product demand is advancing in various industries such as electrical & electronics, food & beverage, automotive, and consumer goods. In the food & beverage industry, product consumption is increasing at a rapid rate owing to the rising demand for packaging material. Manufacturers prefer effective packaging to decrease the possibility of food contamination and quality degradation. The ability of polymers to act as a barrier between the food products and the external environment is raising the demand.

Besides this, usage of polymers in sports, fashion, polymer clay, and toy-making is increasing owing to their durability and ability to resist physical stresses. Moreover, they provide flexibility in packaging and allow easy molding of products.

In the textile sector, their utility is growing owing to their high elasticity, durability, and enhanced visual appeal. Moreover, the rigid nature of polymers makes them suitable for packaging automotive and electrical spare parts. Thus, the increasing application across food & beverage, textile, electrical & electronics, automotive, and consumer goods industries is augmenting the polymers market growth.


Stringent Regulations over the Usage of Plastics to Affect Growth

Regulations over product usage are likely to affect the plastics market growth. Stringent government regulations and other policies have come into the picture in response to the growing concerns over the damage caused by polymers on the environment. To reduce the environmental pollution caused due to polymer use, many manufacturers and governments have taken efforts towards adopting greener and non-polymer alternatives. For example, the UN Environment Program (UNEP) has started a Clean Seas campaign since 2017 in over 50 countries that urges governments to impose polymer reduction policies, encourages industries to minimize polymers made packaging and reform their products. Additionally, many countries including India have committed to removing single-use polymers from the market by 2022. Shift towards non-polymer products and conventions over polymer use together act as a restraining factor towards market growth.


By Type Analysis

Polyethylene Segment to Lead the Market Share

Based on type, the market is segmented into polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polyvinyl chloride, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, polyamide, polycarbonate, polyurethane, polystyrene, and others. Amongst these, polyethylene and polypropylene are the major types owing to their high demand from the end-users such as packaging and automotive. Several manufacturers use polymers for packaging their products as they are durable and act as a barrier between moisture and the product. The usage in the automotive industry is increasing as manufacturers are reducing the weight of the vehicle to increase efficiency and minimize carbon emission.     

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is mainly used in the production of pipes & fittings owing to its numerous advantageous properties such as high modulus of elasticity, electric insulation, resistance towards chemicals, and thermal insulation. The construction industry uses PVC products such as doors, windows, and frames owing to their longer life-cycle, enhanced looks, and easy availability of material.  

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is used on a large scale for packaging and bottling applications. It witnessed high demand from the food packaging & beverage industries as it is non-toxic, lightweight, strong, and can be recycled easily. Due to its strong and flexible nature, PET is also the preferred plastic for 3D printing.

Polyamide is majorly used in the textile industry owing to its strong and flexible properties. It exhibits good elasticity, high tensile strength, and is wrinkle-proof. These benefits make it suitable for usage in clothes, mats, and other products.

Polyurethane, in the form of foam, witnessed high demand from 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, hard, and tough 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 the electronics and packaging industries owing to its insulating and cushioning properties.

By End-Use Industry Analysis

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Packaging Segment to Generate the Highest Revenue

Based on the end-use industry, the market is categorized into packaging, automotive & transportation, infrastructure & construction, consumer goods/lifestyle, healthcare & pharmaceutical, electrical & electronics, textile, and others. The packaging segment holds the largest market share in 2019 and is expected to remain the largest throughout the forecast period because of the high demand for polyethylene from the plastic manufacturing industry. They are mainly used in packaging solutions for the food & beverage industry.

The infrastructure & construction segment is considered to be the second-most prominent segment in terms of end-use industry. The growing use in the production of numerous construction-related products, such as flooring, countertop, films and sheets for windows, roofing, cover building materials, and fittings & pipes, is expected to surge the product demand from the infrastructure & construction end-use industry.

Similarly, the automotive & transportation and consumer goods/lifestyle end-use industries are expected to contribute substantially to the growth of the market in the forecast period. The rising adoption of polymers in the automotive industry to increase vehicle efficiency and the life of vehicle components are responsible for the growth in the polymers market. Properties such as easy moldability, high durability, and flexibility make them the most preferred material for the manufacturing of numerous products such as iceboxes, polymer containers, housewares, toys, sports goods, and packaging material.

The increasing use of polymers in the healthcare sector can be credited to their property of guarding against contaminants by acting as a barrier. Healthcare-related products such as gloves, syringes, bandage strips, blood bags, and prosthetics are manufactured using several polymers. In the electrical & electronics industry, they are used in the production of household appliances, switches, and light fittings due to their insulating properties.


Asia Pacific Plastics Market Size, 2019 (USD Billion)

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Asia Pacific accounted for the highest plastics market share in 2019 and is expected to remain largest throughout the forecast period, with China and India emerging as the leading consuming countries. China is expected to remain the leading country on account of the abundant availability of raw materials at low rates, which is, in turn, minimizing the hurdles involved in polymer production. The growth in Asia Pacific is also attributed to the strong growth in the packaging and infrastructure & construction industries, which are driving the regional demand. Additionally, increasing demand from the consumer goods industry for manufacturing sports goods, toys, and textiles is also driving the market in this region.

In North America, the U.S. accounted for the largest market share due to the increasing product demand from the electrical & electronics, healthcare & pharmaceuticals, packaging, and automotive industries.

On the other hand, Europe is projected to witness significant growth in the polymers market. The increasing demand from the automotive industry would contribute to the growth of the market in the region. The polymer is a preferred material owing to its possession of properties such as electric insulation, corrosion inhibition, excellent heat resistance, and low density. Infrastructure & construction is another end-use industry which is expected to increase product use in the region because of its high rigidity and tensile strength.

In the Middle East & Africa, the key factor influencing the growth will be the increasing demand from the packaging and textile industries. In this region, packaging is a primary application. The rising demand for lightweight and feasible packaging and the use of polymers over glass and metal are set to upsurge the regional market.  

Latin America is projected to witness considerable growth in the market. Brazil is the largest market in this region. Increasing consumption due to the rising urbanization and the growing number of companies specializing in industrial packaging solutions are some critical factors expected to boost plastics industry growth.


Key Players to Strengthen Position by Providing Plastic Solutions to the Packaging Industry

Most of the major companies in this market have a global presence. For example, one of the most significant companies called LyondellBasell deals with the polymers, chemicals, and refining sectors. It provides a wide variety of polymer-based products. The company has shown dominance around the globe by applying the strategy of an acquisition. It is also keeping up with the latest trends in this market to serve its consumer base efficiently.

ExxonMobil, on the other hand, is expanding its business throughout the globe by using strategies such as joint ventures and by providing a diversified range of polymer products. SABIC, another key player, has a strong influence in the Middle East & Africa. The company provides numerous grades of products that have helped it in its expansion through joint ventures.


  • LyondellBasell Industries N.V. (Netherlands)

  • ExxonMobil Chemical (U.S.)

  • China National Petroleum Corporation (China)

  • INEOS (UK)

  • China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (China)

  • SABIC (Saudi Arabia)

  • Ducor Petrochemicals (Netherlands)

  • Reliance Industries Limited (India)

  • Formosa Plastic Group (Taiwan)

  • Total S.A. (France)

  • Braskem (Brazil)

  • BASF SE (Germany)

  • Repsol (Spain)

  • Borouge (UAE)

  • Borealis AG (Austria)

  • MOL Group (Hungary)

  • Beaulieu International Group (Belgium)

  • Other Key Players


  • April 2020 – Borealis AG and NOVA Chemicals Corporation announced that Borealis completed the acquisition of 50% ownership of NOVA Chemicals in Novealis Holdings LLC. This acquisition will increase the company’s footprint in North America and serve the customers efficiently in the region.

  • July 2019­­ – ExxonMobil started the production of a new high-performance polyethylene at its polyethylene plant at Beaumont, Texas. This expansion increased the production capacity of the plant by 65% or 650 KT per year. The total production capacity of the plant increased up to 1.7 million tons per year.


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The plastics market report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on crucial aspects such as leading companies, applications, and types. Also, the report offers insights into global plastics industry 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 over recent years.

An Infographic Representation of Plastics Market

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Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



  Value (USD Billion); Volume (Million Ton)


  Type; End-Use Industry; and Geography

By Type


  • Polyethylene (PE)

  • Polypropylene (PP)

  • Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)

  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

  • Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)

  • Polyamide (PA)

  • Polycarbonate (PC)

  • Polyurethane (PU)

  • Polystyrene (PS)

  • Others

By End-Use Industry


  • Packaging

  • Automotive & Transportation

  • Infrastructure & Construction

  • Consumer Goods/Lifestyle

  • Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals

  • Electrical & Electronics

  • Agriculture

  • Textile

  • 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

      • UK

      • France

      • Italy

      • Spain

      • Poland

      • Rest of Europe

  • Asia Pacific

    • By Type

    • By End-Use Industry

    • By Country

      • China

      • India

      • Japan

      • South Korea

      • Southeast Asia

      • Rest of Asia Pacific

  • Latin America

    • By Type

    • By End-Use Industry

    • By Country

      • Brazil

      • Mexico

      • Rest of Latin America

  • The Middle East & Africa

    • By Type

    • By End-Use Industry

    • By Country

      • Saudi Arabia

      • Turkey

      • Egypt

      • Rest of the Middle East & Africa

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global plastics market size was USD 450.88 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 579.19 billion by 2027.

In 2019, the market value stood at USD 450.88 billion.

Growing at a CAGR of 4.2%, the market will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2020-2027).

The packaging segment is the leading segment based on end-use.

Rising product demand in the food & beverage industry is the key factor driving market growth.

LyondellBasell, ExxonMobil Chemical, INEOS, and SABIC are few of the leading players in the global market.

Asia Pacific dominated the global market in 2019.

The rising demand for recyclable plastics from the packaging industry is the key trend leading to the growth of the market.

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Plastics Market Size, Share and Global Industry Trend Forecast till 2026
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