The global flexible packaging market size to reach USD 212 billion, growing at a CAGR of 4% by 2026. The market is likely to experience growth due to the increased adoption of blister plastic films, aluminum foils, and pouches in the pharmaceutical industry. The wide adoption of blister material, replacing the glass and rigid plastics, has resulted in the high application of lidding films. Paper and plastic films are widely used in blister packs, followed by aluminum foil because of their cost-efficiency. New and advanced blister machinery can pack anywhere between 900 and 1,300 blister packs per minute. The US pharmaceutical packaging market is the major revenue contributor. North America is expected to have around 40–45% of the global pharmaceutical market in value and contribute to approx. 45% to the global market growth during the period 2021–2026.
- The pouch segment is expected to grow faster due to increased demand from non-traditional food such as soups and pet food.
- The use of recyclable plastics will affect the usage of virgin polymers in North America and Europe; however, the adoption is expected to be slow in the APAC region.
- Monolayer plastic packing is likely to witness high growth in the fresh food industry, especially in APAC, MEA, and Latin America.
- China is expected to emerge as a major market for flexible packaging due to high production facilities and the easy availability of raw materials.
GLOBAL FLEXIBLE PACKAGING MARKET SEGMENTATION
This research report includes a detailed segmentation by
- Consumer Flexible Packaging End-users
- Product Type
- Printing Type
INSIGHTS BY MATERIAL
The food industry, which accounted for over 70% of the flexible packaging market share in 2020, has majorly contributed to the flexible plastic segment. Flexible plastic materials are derived from non-renewable resources. Premium products and most food items are packaged in flexible plastic pouches fitted with closures. The food, pharmaceuticals, and beverage industries are the key application end-users of flexible plastic pouches. Pouches have observed the highest demand in flexible plastic packaging; stand-up pouches are growing at an annual rate of around 5%, as they use 60% less plastic and are convenient to use. In 2020, multi-material products garnered the highest flexible packaging market share as they were presumed to offer increased protection from viruses.
Flexible paper packaging products such as bags, sacks, pouches, and laminates are expected to drive the market during the forecast period. China is the world’s largest producer of paper and packaging production with around 25% share. With approximately 25–28% share, the US stands as the largest pulp producer, followed by China with a 10–12% share. The increased application in the healthcare, the tobacco industry, and CPG sectors is expected to influence the growth of the segment. Packaging paper has over 50% of recycled paper; hence, it is more sustainable than plastic.
INSIGHTS BY APPLICATION
Consumer packaging accounted for a major revenue of the global flexible packaging market share in 2020. Pouches, blister packs, and strip packs are the major product categories that cater to the consumer market. The segment is expected to grow faster than industrial packing as a high percentage of industries is adopting flexible solutions, especially non-food and beverage industries. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic affecting disposable income, low demand from several end-user segments is expected for a short period. However, healthcare and F&B industries are expected to boost the demand. In the personal care segment, rigid packaging is replaced by a flexible material, which is expected to increase the market growth during the forecast period.
Growth in modern retailing, increased consumer incomes, and acceleration in industrial activities post-COVID 19 pandemics are expected to support the industrial packaging market growth during the forecast period. The global industrial packaging industry is projected to observe a modest decline in its growth rate during 2020–2021 as bulk packaging for chemicals, agriculture, construction, and other applications will substantially reduce demand.
INSIGHTS BY END-USER TYPE
Bakery and confectioneries are expected to contribute $36 billion to the flexible packaging industry by 2026. China is the largest producer and consumer of bakery products globally, with an annual growth rate of 15%. The adoption of modified atmospheric packaging technology in the bakery is expected to grow during the forecast period. Single-serving and smaller-size packs will witness high application in bakery packing.
The adoption of automated packaging machinery is high in meat, poultry, and seafood segments. The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak has severely affected the global meat market, with consumption patterns witnessing uncertainty. The consumption of milk and milk-based products is high in Europe and North America, with the per capita consumption increasing by around 4% YOY. Cheese has observed high demand over the last five years as new packaging that extends the shelf life. However, the application of flexible packaging is increasingly used in several other end-users, which include RTE, frozen food, tea & coffee, healthcare, personal care, and pet food.
INSIGHTS BY PRODUCT TYPE
Flexible bags and sacks are observing application in healthcare, personal care, and pet food. Although pouches' demand is growing as diverse industries adopt them, plastic bags' volume is more substantial. Plastic bags are in high demand in several European countries. In 2020, several companies started producing bioplastic bags due to the demand for sustainable packaging. However, due to COVID-19, there has been a shift toward plastic, thereby increasing revenue for plastic bags and sacks. Plastic bags and sacks provide high storage advantages, improve logistics, and are cost-effective. However, the disruption in the supply chain for plastic and the paper raw material is expected to affect the production of flexible bags and sacks in the short term.
The flexible pouch market is the fastest growing in this product category. Pouches have witnessed the highest share in the pet food and confectionery end-user segments over the last few years. The increased automation of the food processing industry in the US and Canada is likely to propel the demand for high-capacity pouches. Moreover, the demand for convenient food packaging has further increased due to the evolving food habits and hectic schedules, thereby fueling pouches' demand. Enhanced shelf life, improved choke resistance and child safety, and tamper-evident packing are the other key factors driving the product demand.
INSIGHTS BY PRINTING TYPE
Flexographic printing is expected to grow on account of increased demand from APAC countries during the forecast period. The increased demand for labels and flexible packaging is driving flexographic printing. Further, enhancements in quality and reduced run lengths are boosting the market growth. The breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic declined the demand for flexographic printing in the packaging market in North America, Australia, Asia, and Western Europe. The increasing awareness of sustainable packing is likely to influence the market for flexographic. However, fluctuations in crude oil prices, which affect polymers and resins' production, are likely to hamper the flexographic segment growth. Rotogravure printing is extensively used to print packaging products such as polythene packs, soap wrappers, bread wrappers, milk pouches, and other materials.
INSIGHTS BY GEOGRAPHY
The pharmaceuticals market in China has been one of the continually growing sectors in recent years. The pharmaceuticals market is estimated to reach USD 161 billion by 2023. Therefore, this significant growth is expected to drive the demand for packaging machinery during the forecast period. Japan is expected to offer high growth opportunities for flexible packing material due to the high population over 65 years. This category of people prefers easy-to-use, ready-to-eat, and convenient food packaging, increasing the usage of flexible materials. The growth of e-commerce has increased the demand for corrugated boxes, flexible plastic protective packings, paper protective packaging, bubble wrappings, and void fill plastic packaging. India and China are expected to witness the highest growth in the APAC pharmaceutical industry. Post-COVID, several end-user industries are expected to revive in the region, thereby driving the demand significantly.
INSIGHTS BY VENDORS
Small and medium-sized enterprises constitute a significant segment of the flexible packaging market. Larger players have been aggressively adopting an inorganic growth strategy to expand their operations. They have technological strength and high-volume product lines that have helped offset cost variations. Small companies focus on customization as the market competition is mainly based on two aspects – features and price. The niche segment that does not have large volume is primarily dependent on small companies. The market has witnessed a rise in M&A activities in the last few years; the consolidation is expected to grow, especially in Europe.
The global flexible packaging market research report includes in-depth coverage of the industry analysis with revenue and forecast insights for the following segments:
- Flexible Plastic
- Flexible Paper
- Consumer Packaging
- Industrial Packaging
Consumer Flexible Packaging End-users
- Bakery & Confectionery
- Meat, Poultry, & Seafood
- Frozen Food
- Tea & Coffee
- Personal Care
- Other end-users
- Bags and Sacks
- Rotogravure and Others
- North America
- Rest of Europe
- South Korea
- New Zealand
- Rest of APAC
- Latin America
- Rest of Latin America
- Middle East & Africa
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
- Saudi Arabia
- Rest of Middle East & Africa