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Report forecasts solid growth for global plastics industry, predicts defining trends

Report forecasts solid growth for global plastics industry, predicts defining trends

Despite the impact of COVID-19 in 2020, the global plastics industry is expected to rebound in 2021 due to the resumption of activities in its major end markets in line with progressive containment of the pandemic, a new report forecasts.

In its report, “Industry Convergence to Transform the Global Plastics and Composites Market, Outlook 2021,” business consultancy group Frost & Sullivan predicts that global revenue will rise to an estimated US$558.71 billion this year, up from US$533.04 billion in 2020, a CAGR of 4.8%. Moreover, the ongoing focus on the circular economy is likely to stimulate new regulations and product development in the plastics and composites sector.

“The recycling, re-use, and upcycling of plastics and composites are becoming key avenues for product development and value addition,” said Aditya Krishnan, chemicals, materials, and nutrition analyst at Frost & Sullivan. “The increasing relevance of energy efficiency and carbon neutrality goals will also drive new product design and development in several end-use sectors such as automotive, electronics, and consumer goods. Plastics and composites are expected to play an important part due to their versatile properties and longevity.”

Krishnan also noted that the trend of reshoring, or having products manufactured locally, is expected to have a significant impact as manufacturers look to secure supply chains by building new facilities and expanding operations in key regions such as Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East.

According to the report, the eight key predictions shaping the global plastics and composites market are:
  1. Sustainability will become the primary theme in new product development: The worldwide drive for greater sustainability will propel innovative strategies by global organizations that are end users of plastics and composites.
  2. Single-use plastics will continue to experience high demand: A rise in doorstep delivery due to e-commerce and concerns regarding the spread of the pandemic will continue to drive the consumption of single-use plastics.
  3. Supply chain disruption is paving the way for local-for-local manufacturing and operations: The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to continue to cause disruptions in the global plastic supply chain and a surge in demand for locally produced goods (local-for-local production or reshoring).
  4. Changing work locations to create new opportunities for plastics and composites: The impact of digitalization of jobs and the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the work-from-home trend, which is expected to slow down urbanization and eventually trigger a de-urbanization trend, including modular offices.
  5. Continued growth of additive manufacturing to drive the development of new products: The rapid growth of personalization is expected to drive additive manufacturing, especially for the 3D printing of consumer goods.
  6. Resurgence of public events will create a demand for commodity plastics: The expected rise in public events such as trade shows and concerts will increase demand for products for individuals participating in the events and other plastics in related applications, such as temporary stalls and seating arrangements.
  7. Evolving regulatory trends to improve energy efficiency will create new opportunities: Demand for energy-efficient solutions in building, construction and transportation and the implications of the European Green New Deal (GND) are expected to drive the market for plastics and composites.
  8. Sudden surge in demand for improved food safety and traceability will open new avenues for development: Increasing demand for food safety and traceability due to future pandemic scenarios is expected to create new opportunities such as digitalized cold storage warehouses.

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Daisie Hobson

Daisie Hobson is a Director at the Reshoring Institute and an engineer with many years of experience in manufacturing and project management.

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