Key factors that are driving growth within the polymer industry
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Key factors that are driving growth within the polymer industry

Key factors that are driving growth within the polymer industry

Packaging is expected to remain the largest category in the polymer market for the foreseeable future


The world is witnessing five megatrends that impact the way we live and do business. Rapid urbanisation, climate change and resource scarcity, along with shifts in global economic power, demographic and social change and technological breakthroughs are reshaping the world dynamics as we know them.

The global population is slated to reach 9.2 billion by 2040 as compared to 7.5 billion today. As the middle class expands and more and more of the population moves to urban areas, we are witnessing an unprecedented growth in demand across sectors. This paradigm shift translates into improved standards of living and increased access to better amenities and lifestyle products. The markets for electronics, automotive appliances and many other consumer-based products are becoming increasingly competitive with a rise in demand and purchasing power.

The global polymer market size is expected to increase from $533.6bn in 2019 to $838.5bn by 2030, at a 5.1 per cent CAGR between 2020 and 2030. The polymer industry is set to benefit from these megatrends as packaging is a default requirement for majority sectors like FMCG, food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and many more.

Polymers have excellent electrical, mechanical, optical, and chemical properties. The high strength-to-weight ratio, durability and corrosion resistance can significantly improve product performance for various applications such as packaging, automotive parts, and medical devices. Polymer packaging ensures safety of goods from damage and corrosion, facilitates movement of goods, and moreover, is a touch point for brands. The rise in income and population will drive the demand for polymers as they are the building blocks for most packaging material.

Covid-19 is the first global crisis with far-reaching impacts that this generation has faced, and it highlights the need for secure food packaging, medical and personal healthcare equipment that, in turn, has pushed forth the demand for polymers. The pandemic was a turning point for the e-commerce industry as the world went under lockdown, and people had to rely on digital mediums to fulfil their daily requirements, reshaping demands, and expectations. The sector grew by 33.6 per cent in 2020, to a total of nearly $800bn, an unprecedented rise that is showing no signs of slowing down.

This has shifted the focus on durable, rigid, and flexible packaging solutions to maintain the hygiene and protect the integrity of the package, especially for food and grocery products. Continuous innovation is part of the DNA, allowing to explore opportunities for a diversified portfolio of PP and PE solutions, as well as new product ranges and applications in flexible packaging, rigid packaging and durables, as well as infrastructure and construction.

To meet global demand and meeting customer expectations, there are new polymer horizons with innovative grades. Packaging is expected to remain the largest category in the polymer market for the foreseeable future. Polymers offer protection, flexibility, abrasion resistance, high shock, and vibration resistance, and are readily substitutable for conventional packaging materials.

Global megatrends, changing purchasing behaviour, requirements for durability and flexibility in packaging are collectively driving growth of the polymer industry.

Gilles Rochas is the vice president of Performance Chemicals, OQ

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