The global sales of flexible plastic packaging are expected to exhibit a 5.1% year-on-year growth rate in 2023, with value reaching US$ 108.2 billion. Future Market Insights projects flexible plastic packaging market to grow at 4.3% CAGR between 2023 and 2033, as consumer preference is shifting from traditional packaging products to stand-up pouches and re-closable packaging.
Market research analysis identified Amcor Plc, Sealed Air Corporation, Berry Global Inc, Winpak Ltd., and Sonoco Products Company as top players in the flexible plastic packaging sector. With their combined efforts, the market is expected to reach US$ 164.3 billion by 2033.
Increasing consumer inclination towards on-the-go and online food delivery is fueling flexible plastic packaging demand across the world. The market is estimated to expand at 4.3% CAGR between 2023 and 2033, in comparison to 5.4% CAGR registered during 2018 to 2022.
The demand for household essentials and medical items is expected to increase significantly, and sales of these items through online retail increase. This is likely to boost the demand for flexible plastic packaging solutions to ensure safe and timely delivery of these products to their respective end users. Given this, market share expanded from US$ 75.0 billion in 2016 to US$ 102.9 billion in 2022.
However, over-packing in e-commerce is emerging as a major concern, as it creates additional wastage, requires high energy for recycling, and creates pollution. Lack of optimization in e-commerce packaging and breaking of a single package into multiple individual ones from distribution center to delivery are the main causes of over-packing. This negatively influences the flexible plastic packaging sector growth.
Development of novel packaging styles like compostable films, collapsible pouches, bag-in-box, and others by manufacturers boosts the flexible plastic packaging business growth. Due to this, the market is showing great opportunities and is expected to expand with a value of US$ 148.6 in 2031 and US$ 156.3 billion in 2032.
For instance, in 2021, KM Packaging launched a new compostable product range made from bioplastic packaging materials. Its C-range includes shrink wrap, stretch wrap, adhesive tape, nets and bags. This is likely to expand KM’s product portfolio of sustainable flexible packaging solutions and reach a wider customer base.
Is Flexible Plastic Packaging Better Than Rigid Packaging?
High demand for flexible plastic packaging, especially in food & beverages, electrical, consumer electronics, and e-commerce industries, owing to its lightweight and high durability, boosts the market growth in the upcoming years.
Even though rigid packaging offers high barrier packaging solutions, flexible plastic packaging is replacing them due to its high flexibility, superior durability, and high shelf life.
Rigid packaging made of plastic and non-plastic materials were highly susceptible to breakage, leakage, and corrosion, especially in metal packaging. Growing consumer inclination towards convenient and lightweight packaging further boosts the demand for flexible plastic packaging.
How is E-Commerce Driving the Flexible Plastic Packaging Market in the United States?
The Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce, in its quarterly report of 2021, announced that United States retail e-commerce sales were around US$ 215 billion, while the total retail sales till May 2021 were around US$ 1,581.4 billion.
With this sales explosion, the United States dominated the market with a share of 14% and worth 14.39 billion in 2022.
Flexible plastics are extensively used in packing of products during the shipping phase, from a distribution center to a consumer in the e-commerce industry. Growing e-commerce sales in the United States boost the demand for flexible plastic packaging in the country.
Flexible plastic packaging products are finding use in quick serve restaurants and single serve beverage servings as durable, portable, and lightweight, flexible packaging options. Growing fast food restaurant chains in the United States boost the growth in the country.
Why is the Demand For Flexible Plastic Products Increasing In Germany?
With a market share of 3.4% and a value of US$ 3.5 billion in 2022, Germany shows significant growth in the market.
Increasing demand for fast moving goods and booming e-commerce industry raises the demand for flexible plastic packaging solutions in Germany. Increasing demand for general barrier, long life, and durable plastics in the healthcare industry is expected to bode well with the market growth in the country.
Rising international pressure towards eliminating non-biodegradable plastics and implementation of stringent government regulations on the plastic usage is likely to provide momentum for development of biodegradable plastic packaging solutions and bio-plastic derived from sustainable sources.
· International Businesses Making the Market Competition Intense
· The flexible plastic packaging market offers high competition due to the presence of large international companies and medium and small domestic market players. Future Market Insights (FMI) estimates that the top five flexible plastic packaging market players account for nearly 15% of global market share.
· The soaring popularity of sustainable packaging and banning of single-use plastic is promoting market players towards developing new biodegradable plastics for flexible packaging. Market players are also working towards recycling the flexible plastic packaging to reduce the carbon footprint.
· Rise in the number of partnerships, strategic merger and acquisition is observed to solidify their market position and promote a plastic circular economy.
· For instance, Soteria Flexibles acquired a leading manufacturer of polyethylene flexible plastic packaging Redi-Bag on 10th June 2021. The acquisition allowed Soteria flexible to enter seafood and produce packing markets
· In 2021, Berry Inc through its Verdant™ line launched an eco-friendly packaging solution. The company launched the verdant extruded tube with 25% PCR, thus pushing the boundaries for post consumer resin (PCR) content in its personal care packaging.