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Thermoformed Plastics Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Plastic Type (Polyethylene, Polypropylene, Polystyrene, Polyvinyl Chloride, Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, Biodegradable polymers), By Thermoforming Type (Vacuum Snapback, Thin Gauge Thermoforming, Thick Gauge Thermoforming, and Plug Assist Forming), By Application (Healthcare & Medical, Food Packaging, Electrical & Electronics), and Regional Forecast, 2020-2027

Last Updated: May 06, 2024 | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI104032



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The global thermoformed plastics market size was USD 40.59 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 59.74 billion by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 5.7% during the forecast period.

Plastics products made through the thermoforming process are called thermoformed plastics. This process uses plastic molding techniques such as vacuum and pressure forming to shape the plastic. Development and growing applications in various industries such as healthcare, packaging, automotive, electrical & electronics will subsequently augment the market growth. Rising advantages of thermoforming such as cost-effectiveness and easy processing is fostering the growth of the market.

The rising popularity of shopping and consumer spending due to changing lifestyles and high hygiene awareness for packed food products are further fueling the demand for thermoforming plastics in the packaging industry. Thermoformed plastic provides protection during transportation of food products; thus, they are preferred in the food & beverage packaging industry.

Increasing COVID-19 Cases to Concomitantly Dwindle the Plastic Industry

The rapid spread of the coronavirus has led to fluctuations in the global plastic industry. These fluctuations in sales and consumption can be attributed to the global lockdown causing shutdown of the manufacturing facilities. Plastics constitute a very important segment of the global economy and facilitator to a large sum of industries. The COVID-19 outbreak has severely impacted individuals, governments, and businesses. The spread of coronavirus has led to stock up on supplies such as dairy products, medicines, sanitizers, food, disinfectants, face masks, and others. The market is expected to exhibit significant growth as all the aforementioned products require packaging. High hygiene awareness among consumers and customers for packed products around the world is supporting the market growth of thermoformed plastics.

Furthermore, the surging demand for sanitization to curb the spread of coronavirus has consequently increased the demand for thermoformed plastics in packaging and medical products, including bottles, trays, and others.


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Increasing Product Demand for In-mold Labeling is a Key Trend

The in-mold labeling (IML) is an automated process in which a paper label is molded onto a container which then fuses to the plastic container. The demand for in-mold labels is rising because of the high purchasing power and acceptability of consumers for packaged food products. Decorative labels are also added to the packaging to attract consumers through attractive packaging designs.

The spread of coronavirus has compelled the consumer to shift towards packaged food products, which in turn is supporting the demand for thermoformed plastics in packaging applications. Labeling is fused with the container, thus, offering protection and safety from bacteria. The in-molding labeling process provides no contact of outside labeling onto the food, along with its presence on the container, makes it easy to sanitize before putting in food. These benefits along with rising safety awareness regarding virus protection thus support the high demand for use of the in-molding process of labeling for packaging applications, which in turn, is causing high consumption of plastics.


Increasing Demand for Packaged Food to Aid Growth

The growing demand for packaged products by consumers due to changing eating habits, growing income, and evolving lifestyles are expected to favor market growth. These types of packaging provide high-barrier properties, extended shelf-life, thereby substantially boosting the market. The use of high-performance material for convenience foods products are expected to promote packaging industry growth. Advantages such as improved shelf-life, non-contamination are expected to boost market growth. Additionally, factors such as rising population and growing disposable income have created a positive impact on the market due to the demand for high-quality food products.

The market demand is fueled by the increasing urban population due to migration from rural areas and high birth rate, resulting in high consumption of packaged food. The growing popularity of single-serving food products will foster the growth of the market. Furthermore, in the infrastructure segment, it has been used for insulation applications, whereas in the automotive segment it has applications in interior and exterior body parts of automobiles. Thus, for infrastructure and automotive segments, a technological breakthrough is instigating effective thermoformed plastics products to support the rising demand.


Stringent Government Regulations on Plastics to Hinder Market Growth

The direct impacts of plastic packaging on the environment, involve water pollution, soil degradation, solid waste pollution, chemical pollution, and reduction of resources such as fossils. Crude oil and petroleum being the major raw material for manufacturing plastics, thus regulations over preserving sources act as a restraining factor for the plastic industry, which in turn, directly affects the market. Moreover, governmental policies and regulation for pollution control through the banning of plastic use is also a major restraining factor to market growth.


By Plastic Type Analysis

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Polypropylene Segment to Hold the Major Share in the Market

Based on plastic-type, the market is segmented into polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, biodegradable polymers, and others. The polypropylene segment dominated the market due to the growing demand for PP for various applications in industries such as medical, food & beverages, automotive, and others. PP is a thermoplastic polymer that is widely used for food packaging products which include trays, cups, sandwich packs, disposable products, and microwaveable containers. Growth in the manufacturers that use polypropylene for packaging applications is subsequently fueling the product demand.

Furthermore, the thermoforming technique for biodegradable plastics is increasing due to technological advancement to provide environment-friendly plastic products. Recent developments in the packaging industry to provide better packaging solutions for food & beverage packaging are expected to generate high demand for plastics.

By Thermoforming Type Analysis

Thin Gauge Segment to Hold the Major Share in the Market

Based on thermoforming type, the market is segmented into vacuum snapback, thin gauge thermoforming, thick gauge thermoforming, and plug assist forming. The thin gauge segment dominated the market as they are manufactured through radiant, contact, air heating techniques. Rising demand for thin gauge thermoformed plastics such as medical packaging products in the healthcare industry is anticipated to drive the growth in the forecast period. The global spread of the virus has caused a high demand for medical plastics thus leading manufacturers using thin thermoforming techniques to produce plastics for the healthcare industry.

Moreover, the thick gauge has applications in electrical & electronic equipment and automotive parts. Thick gauge thermoformed plastics are used in applications such as bumpers and interior components in the automotive industry. They also are being used in consumer goods, and engine covers in the construction equipment industry. Plug assist is expected to be the fastest-growing segment during the forecast period. This growth can be attributed to the rising use of products in food packaging. Materials formed using plug assist method provide wall thickness and reduced gauge.

By Application Analysis

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Food Packaging Segment to Dominate the Market Owing to High Quality Packaged Food Demand

Based on application type, the market is segmented into healthcare & medical, food packaging, electrical & electronics, automotive packaging, construction, consumer goods & appliances, and others. The food packaging segment dominated the market due to high demand from the packaging sector for applications in various industries such as medical, food & beverages, construction, and automotive. The rise of the virus has caused awareness among consumers regarding hygiene and sanitization leading to the demand for high-quality packaged foods.

Automotive is expected to be the fastest-growing application during the forecast period. Thermoformed plastics are used for electric vehicles, bumpers, engine parts, and others. Increasing demand for automotive panels, liners, and vehicle parts is further expected to drive the thermoformed plastics market size. Growth in the automotive industry can be attributed to the rising population and rising disposable income, which in turn may favor market growth.


North America Thermoformed Plastics Market Size, 2019 (USD Billion)

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North America dominated the market, which can be attributed to the rapid industrialization and technological advancements in the packaging industry. The growth in the number of producers and suppliers of thermoformed plastic for applications in the healthcare sector is further expected to drive the regional market. The pandemic has led to high demand for plastics in the production of medical trays, medicine packaging, and others.  Along with this, a growing consumer lifestyle and disposable income is causing an increase in the automotive sector and construction activities. The company ALPLA provides packaging solutions and with state-of-the-art technical equipment and emphasizes technological creativity to improve and develop custom synthetic packaging solutions.

Asia Pacific is expected to have a significant share and fastest-growing global thermoformed plastics market which can be attributed to increasing polymer formulations in the region. Emerging economies in the region such as China and India are expected to have strong economic growth. China is the largest producer as well as supplier of plastics products with the use of various types of technologies. Rapid urbanization and the increasing disposable income of consumers in the region are projected to drive the market. Additionally, rising automotive and construction sectors in the region are leading to subsequent demand for lightweight auto components and new housing solutions. A customized project of Arcadis management is to approach and meet zero exhaust requirements while also achieving 20% of energy savings.  Familiar projects in the automotive sector are supporting market growth for thermoformed plastics.

The European region is experiencing a rapid growth rate for the past few years due to an increase in demand from end-use sectors. This high demand for thermoformed plastics can be attributed to the rising sales of automobiles in the region. Additionally, the food packaging industry is responsive due to the effectiveness and cost reduction and safety, along with eco-friendly designs and package performance which is supporting the market growth. The European Economic and Social Committee states that e-commerce "is an important driver for development with a potential for economic growth and rising employment estimated at over 10% between 2013 and 2016".

Latin America and the Middle East & Africa are expected to have substantial growth during the forecast period. This growth can be attributed to the moderate increase in the sectors such as construction, automotive, and packaging. Brazil is one of the major countries responsible for the high consumption of thermoformed plastics for applications in the packaging and healthcare industry. Whereas, in the Middle East & Africa, the rise in the construction segment is supporting market growth. Urbanization and technological advancement are stimulating construction activities in the regions. Moreover, the region is a major raw material provider such as petroleum causing industrialization at a higher rate, which in turn, is causing growth in the thermoformed plastics market.


Joint Ventures and Expansion Projects are the Key Strategic Plans Implemented by the Companies

Major players operating in the industry are Fabri-Kal Corp., Pactiv LLC, Amcor Ltd., Berry Global Inc., and others. Companies are involved in new product development, capacity enlargement, acquisition, and joint venture, and partnership to gain a competitive edge in the market. For example, Fabri-Kal Partnered with local companies for providing medical face shields which helps during the pandemic and improves presence and gaining recognition in the domestic market.

In May 2020, Berry Global announced an innovative advanced recycling technology project with Mondelēz International. This will support the company with customer expansion by providing better packaging solutions.

Sabert Corporation announced an agreement to acquire Kalman Packaging. This acquisition will help the company to provide new innovative and versatile packaging designs for pies, cupcakes, muffins, and other bakery foods.



  • November 2019 – Sabert Corporation announced a definitive agreement to acquire LBP Manufacturing LLC. LBP’s position in Quick Service Restaurant, combined with Sabert’s sales network and global presence, will allow the organization to deliver value to the market and acquire global customers.

  • January 2020 –  Fabri-Kal, a leading provider of custom thermoformed packaging solutions, is collaborating with The Michigan Department of Environment to double the recycling rate of packaging products by the year 2025.

  • October 2020 – Papacks invested a total amount of 10 million Euro in Arnstadt mill located in Germany. This new production unit will produce high quality molded paper fiber through the thermoforming process while also supporting production capacity up to 360 million pieces annually.


An Infographic Representation of Thermoformed Plastics Market

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The thermoformed plastics market report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on crucial aspects such as leading companies, sources, applications, and products. 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 over recent years.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



  Value (USD Billion); Volume (Million Ton)


  Plastic Type; Thermoforming Type; Application; and Geography

By Plastic Type


  • Polyethylene

  • Polypropylene

  • Polystyrene

  • Polyvinyl Chloride

  • Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene

  • Biodegradable Polymers

  • Others

By Thermoforming Type


  • Vacuum Snapback

  • Thin Gauge Thermoforming

  • Thick Gauge Thermoforming

  • Plug Assist Forming

By Application


  • Healthcare & Medical

  • Food Packaging

  • Electrical & Electronics

  • Automotive Packaging

  • Construction

  • Consumer Goods & Appliances

  • Others

By Geography


  • North America

    • By Plastic Type

    • By Thermoforming Type

    • By Application

    • By Country

      • The U.S.

        • By Application

      • Canada

        • By Application

  • Europe

    • By Plastic Type

    • By Thermoforming Type

    • By Application

    • By Country

      • Germany

        • By Application

      • UK

        • By Application

      • France

        • By Application

      • Italy

        • By Application

      • Spain

        • By Application

      • Poland

        • By Application

      • Rest of Europe

        • By Application

  • Asia Pacific

    • By Plastic Type

    • By Thermoforming Type

    • By Application

    • By Country

      • China

        • By Application

      • India

        • By Application

      • Japan

        • By Application

      • South Korea

        • By Application

      • Southeast Asia

        • By Application

      • Rest of Asia Pacific

        • By Application

  • Latin America

    • By Plastic Type

    • By Thermoforming Type

    • By Application

    • By Country

      • Brazil

        • By Application

      • Mexico

        • By Application

      • Rest of Latin America

        • By Application

  • Middle East & Africa

    • By Plastic Type

    • By Thermoforming Type

    • By Application

    • By Country

      • Saudi Arabia

        • By Application

      • Turkey

        • By Application

      • Egypt

        • By Application

      • Rest of Middle East & Africa

        • By Application

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 40.59 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 59.74 billion by 2027.

In 2019, the market value stood at USD 40.59 billion.

Growing at a CAGR of 5.7%, the market will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2020-2027).

The polypropylene segment is expected to be the leading segment under the type segment in this market during the forecast period.

Technological advancements and rising end-use applications are the key factors driving market growth.

Fabri-Kal Corp., Pactiv LLC, Amcor Ltd., Berry Global Inc., Industries are a few of the leading players in the global market.

North America dominated the global market in 2019.

Which factor is expected to drive the adoption of these products?

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