Increasing demand for flexible and durable products for several end-use applications has been a major factor responsible for the growth of global plastics market. The market is characterised by ever increasing applications in several end-use industries. Consumers have been switching to plastic materials from conventional counterparts such as wood, metal, paper, ceramics, glass and leather. This shift of consumer requirements has fuelled the market growth over the last few decades. Increasing infrastructure spending in Asia Pacific and Latin America has boosted demand for paints, coatings, pipes and adhesives. Increasing demand for these applications has augmented the plastics market growth. Rising demand for high durability and light weight materials in automobile & aerospace industries to enhance fuel efficiency is also expected to have a positive outlook on the market over the next few years.
Volatility of raw material prices may restraint the market growth over the forecast period. This is anticipated to negatively impact the demand supply balance. Increasing government regulations coupled with environmental apprehensions for disposal of plastic materials may further set back the market growth. In order to overcome such challenges, the industry participants have been forming strategic alliances with biotechnology firms to develop bio-based plastics. Increasing R&D investments and technological innovation to recycle plastics into various durable end-products are expected to create future opportunities for the market players.
On the basis of resin types, plastics market has be segmented into six products which include polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polystyrene and engineering thermoplastics. PE was the largest product segment and accounted for over 34% of the total market volume in 2013. Increasing demand of PE for film/sheet applications in food & beverage and packaging industries has been the major driving factors for PE over the last few years. Environmental regulations coupled with disposal norms may restrict the market growth. PET is anticipated to project high growth rates of over 8% from 2014 to 2020. Growing demand of PET for bottled water and carbonated soft drink (CSD) packaging is estimated to have positive impact on the market growth over the next six years.
Asia Pacific was the largest regional market and accounted for over 44% market share in 2013. Growth of major end use application segments such as film/sheet and pipes especially in China and India is anticipated to drive plastics market growth in the region. The regional market is expected to witness high growth owing to the shift of manufacturing facilities of several market players. Increasing disposable income among the rural as well as suburban populations of emerging economies of China, India, Brazil and South Africa is anticipated to have a positive outlook in terms of market demand. North America and Europe are moderately mature markets and are anticipated to have stagnant growth rates over the forecast period. The market in these regions is characterised by increasing demand for bio-plastics owing to stringent regulatory scenario for synthetic products. Central & South America plastics market is expected to witness high growth owing to growing automotive industry and infrastructure spending.
Research Support Specialist, USA