Growing demand from flexible packaging industry is the key factor to drive specialty and high performance films market. These films are extensively used as packaging material especially for foods & beverages, constructions and decorative interiors. Increasing demand from these end-use industries is expected to boost specialty and high performance films demand over the forecast period. These films also find wide application scope in insulating semiconductors which are used in electronics and photovoltaic cells. Strong growth of electronics and photovoltaic cells market is anticipated to augment the market growth over the next five years. Increasing demand from other end-use industries such as personal care & cosmetics, automotive, electrical and electronics is most likely to fuel the market growth over the forecast period.
Specialty and high performance films are made from engineered plastic materials and composites. Fluctuating prices of plastics owing to fluctuations in crude oil prices is anticipated to have negative impact on profitability of industry participants in near future. In addition, growing environmental concerns coupled with stringent regulations from EPA to reduce plastics usage is anticipated to hamper the market growth over the foreseeable period. Innovation in biodegradable plastic films and sheets is anticipated to open new opportunities to market players in near future.
Based on polymer types, specialty and high performance films are broadly classified into polyester, polycarbonate, fluoropolymers, nylon and others include polypropylene, polyethylene and engineering plastics.
Polyester films emerged as the leading product segment over the past few years on account of superior thermal and flexibility characteristics. Increasing demand for these properties from flexible packaging industry is the key factor to drive polyester films market. Polycarbonate films are expected to witness fastest growth over the next five years on account of its widespread application base in printing, graphics, insulation, forming, surface coating and mold labeling. However, fluoropolymers market is expected to witness slowest growth owing to stringent regulation from EPA and REACH associations.
End-use applications of specialty and high performance films include barrier, safety, decorative and microporous films. Barrier films have been the largest application segment over the past few years on account of increasing application scope in photovoltaic cells and semiconductor insulations. Decorative and microporous films market is expected to witness high growth on account of growing demand from durable electronics lamination and food processing applications. In addition, growth of interior decorations market is further expected to fuel the market growth in near future. Innovations in bio-degradable plastics are expected to enhance the application scope of these films over the forecast period.
Packaging was the largest market for specialty and high performance films market in 2013 followed by construction and electronics. Increasing flexible packaging materials demand in foods & beverages and consumer goods industry is the key factor to drive the market. Increasing government spending on infrastructure development in emerging countries such as India, China and Brazil is anticipated to boost demand for these films from construction sector. Demand for these films from electronics and electrical industry is anticipated to have lucrative growth over the forecast period.
Asia Pacific emerged as the largest market for specialty and high performance films in 2013. Growth of end-use industries such as automotives, construction and electrical & electronics is the key factor to drive the market in this region. In addition, rapid industrialization coupled with large number of raw material manufacturing units in this region is further expected to fuel the market growth. However, North America and Europe are expected to witness sluggish growth owing to market saturation in end-use industries.
Specialty and high performance films market is moderately fragmented with large number of SMSEs presence. Some prominent players in the market include The Dow Chemical Company, Bayers AG, Bemis Company Inc., E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, Eastman Chemicals and Sealed Air Corporation.
Research Support Specialist, USA