The global market for plastic products is growing at about 3% year on year, according to research from the Business Research Co. (Philadelphia) in its report, Plastics Product Manufacturing Global Market 2017. It was worth $1.06 trillion in 2016, and will grow to $1.175 trillion by 2020. The biggest segment is plastic packaging materials and unlaminated film and sheet manufacturing, which accounts for about 20% of the total.

The United States and China are neck and neck as markets for plastic products manufacturers, though China is likely to draw ahead soon, as its market is growing at 3% year on year versus 1.6% for the United States. The markets in India and Brazil, though small by comparison with China and the United States, are the fastest growing of the big economies at more than 8% annually.

Newell Brands, Stone Canyon, CCL Industries, Teijin Ltd., Keter Plastics, RPC Group, Sonoco and Genstar Capital are key players during the last three years.

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Plastics Demand

In 2016, the global plastics market reached a volume of over 263 million tonnes. According to the demand volume and price development for the individual types of plastics, Ceresana expects revenues to rise to about US dollar 560 billion until 2024. The data regarding quantities and revenues do not include synthetic fibers nor their use in paints and varnishes, adhesives and sealants. Synthetic resins such as epoxy, phenolic, melamine, and urea formaldehyde resin as well as silicones are not analyzed either. With a market share of over 51%, Asia-Pacific is the region with the largest plastics demand; North America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and South America follow. China and the USA are the major consumers of plastics worldwide. In this market report, Ceresana analyzes the development of every individual product type and application area in several regions and countries.

 

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Plastics Applications

In 2016, the plastics sales markets flexible packaging, construction products, and rigid packaging dominated: These three segments account for about 65% of the total demand for plastics. The sales markets with the highest growth rates of more than 3% per year are, however, the segments automotive and electrical and electronics.
Flexible packaging such as bags and sacks as well as shrink and stretch films are mainly used for food packaging, but also as a secondary and tertiary packaging, for example for transportation. Plastic films may be used as shopping bags, trash can liners, mailing bags or as large bags for industrial and agricultural goods. Worldwide, about 60.8 million tonnes of plastics were utilized in flexible packaging in 2016.
In civil engineering and building construction, plastics are mainly used for films, cables, pipes, profiles and covers, sheets, fastening elements such as dowels and screws, glazing, coatings, and membranes. 54.8 million tonnes of plastics were utilized for building applications in 2016. The Asia-Pacific region is by far the largest consumer.
The sales market rigid packaging includes containers such as cans, cups, trays, bottles, boxes, and caps. Plastics replace the more traditional materials such as aluminum or glass. In order to minimize use of resources and transport cost, the industry manufactures increasingly lighter containers and uses more and more plastic bags as alternatives. Worldwide, about 54.0 million tonnes of plastics were processed into rigid packaging in 2016.

 

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Polypropylene is the Top Seller

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) might be more famous. However, the top-selling product of 2016 was polypropylene (PP): 23.4% market share. Polypropylene is a semi-crystalline thermoplastic polymer that is compatible with many processing technologies and used in a wide variety of applications. High density polyethylene (HDPE) and linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) also belong to the types of plastics that were most frequently used. HDPE is solid and hard. It is processed into films but also into rigid containers, pipes, and a variety of everyday household goods such as flacons, clothes pegs, and handles of dishwashing brushes. Both flexible as well as rigid products are made of linear low density polyethylene, oftentimes in blends with low-density polyethylene (LDPE) or HDPE. Like this, it can be used for example for thinner films. Furthermore, LLDPE is processed into multilayered packaging.

Here are conclusion for plastic industry now:

  • Raw materials used in plastic include hydrocarbon fuels (coal, natural gas and crude oil), salt and sand. PE production in North America is dependent mainly on natural gas, which is available at a very low cost in the region. PE producers in the region are, thus, highly competitive

  • Automotive is the fastest growing application segment in the global arena during the forecast period. Increasing incorporation of plastics as opposed to metals & alloys in automotive components has been a major factor contributing to the growth of the segment

  • Polyether Ether Ketone is expected to witness a CAGR of 9.4% in terms of volume during the forecast period. They are widely used in engineering applications owing to their characteristics, which include being colorless and organic

  • PVC is one of the major plastic constituents in various building materials and construction activities. The plastic is modified as per requirement to meet structural designs and application specifications.

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