In a new study, German research group Ceresana expects the European plastics market to grow as plastics continue to replace materials such as aluminum, tin plate and glass.
"In total, the European plastics market reached a volume of more than 53 million [metric] tons in 2014," said Oliver Kutsch, CEO of Ceresana, which published Market Study: Plastics — Europe. "Over the next eight years, we expect revenues to rise further at an average rate of 2.9 percent [per year]. In 2022, they will amount to about 104 billion euros ($115.4 billion)."
The report covers all significant plastics from standard products such as polyethylene, polypropylene and PVC to engineering plastics such as ABS or fluoropolymers to bioplastics. The report does not include synthetic fibers, paints and adhesives.
Ceresana said Germany is the largest manufacturer of plastics in Europe, with a market share of almost 24 percent. The second largest producer of plastics is Belgium, followed by France, Russia, the Netherlands and Spain, it said.
In 2014, flexible packaging, rigid packaging and the construction sector were the most important application areas for plastics, representing about 70 percent of the total demand for plastics in Europe.
“Other sales markets, however, are recording the highest growth rates of more than 2 percent [per year]. These are transportation and the electrics and electronics industry,” said Ceresana.
LDPE and LLDPE make the largest component of materials in the flexible packaging market, accounting for almost 53 percent, followed by PP and HDPE. In rigid packaging products, it is mainly PET, followed by PP and HDPE.
“As the weight reduction of materials has reached its limits, more and more plastic bags are used in the area of beverages as an alternative to rigid packaging,” said Ceresana.
In 2014, the construction sector consumed more than 5.5 million metric tons of PVC, accounting for the largest demand. HDPE was in second place, followed by polystyrene and EPS.