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Global Packaging Market in 2017: Emerging Markets and Pack Size Variation

July 25th, 2017

Euromonitor International has recently completed the full publication of its 2017 Packaging edition, and our latest research affirms a widespread solid performance for packaging in 2016. Overall, 2016 proved to be a year of growth for consumer packaging industry, 1.9% growth in 2016 bringing global retail demand for consumer packaging to 3.4 trillion packs.

Flexible plastic, PET bottles and glass bottles are the pack types most sold, together these 3 pack types dominate accounting for 52% of all sales in 2016. However, global growth is being shaped by emerging market demand and an increased purchase of packaged goods, we see the global consumption for packaging shift Eastwards, driven by the populous Asia Pacific region which provides strongest regional performance for packaging, underpinned by a rising wealth in the region.

In 2016 the key countries for growth are India, China, Indonesia. Additionally in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is performing well for packaging, bolstered by a young population and high consumption of soft drinks

Looking at key industries for packaging, demand remains greatest within Foods, set to reach 2 trillion packs in 2017. For foods, it’s the flexible plastic substrate that is king thanks to its sheer versatility in application across the board, from confectionery, snacks, biscuits and baked goods through to pasta, rice, noodles and much more.

Added to the importance of flexibles for foods, we see greater choice in pack sizes, with sale of smaller sizes in particular doing well and adding to packaging growth. This is due to portion control as is evident in confectionery, for snacking on the go where the smaller single-serve is more practical or simply for affordability.

The latest published Packaging research also reveals that soft drinks has had the strongest performance when it comes global packaging growth as it’s demand rose by 3.2% in 2016. Here the health-led consumption of the important bottled water category is instrumental to gains, supported by the rise in purchase of smaller pack sizes across soft drinks.  Whilst 500ml PET bottle remains the most common pack sold for water globally, there is good development in sub-500ml sizes for on-the-go hydration, also parent-friendly for children.  One interesting launch, the 330ml bottles from Font Vella and Lanjaron in Spain for the Lanjaron Kids range, very much designed for children, a fun design with jungle animals engages, in appropriate size, and importantly encourages water consumption for children’s health too!

In carbonated soft drinks, a product challenged by consumer health concerns related to sugar content, yet is a category where we continue to see growth for packaging, brands have responded to consumer concerns with premium natural product formulations and also through packaging, by using smaller pack sizes with lower calorific content (both smaller single-serve packs and smaller family-size options) and with success, helping enable consumers, who are increasingly health-conscious, make informed decisions about regulating their soft drink intake

We see variation over standardisation in pack type, pack design and pack size as the way forward for growth across the packaging industry.

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Rosemarie Downey

Rosemarie Downey heads up the global packaging research at Euromonitor International. Rosemarie holds more than 15 years’ of experience in research of the international consumer packaging industry and of retail consumer goods.

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