The global plastic injection molding market size was valued at USD 11385 million in 2021 and is anticipated to generate USD 15734 million by 2030. The market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 4% during the forecast period (2022–2030). Injection molding is a built-up technique for mechanized plastic products such as various components and parts, which are used in various customer-based industries. In this process, melted material is injected into a mold, where it is melted, cooled, and is lastly solidified into a finished product of desired shape and size. Advanced injection molded techniques like hot runner injection molding are used in the production of complex parts and intricate shapes to ensure accuracy and minimize waste.
Plastic injection molding is chiefly used in packaging applications to manufacture packaging parts and components to increase the aesthetic value and ease of consumption of packaging products. The surging demand in packaging for products like cosmetics and toiletries, pharmaceuticals, household purpose chemicals, and food & beverages is accelerating the demand for injection molded plastics, which is pushing its market growth. In addition, injection-molded plastics have various remuneration such as increased shelf life of food products, increased durability, optical clarity and reduced wear & tear.
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Plastics are widely used, similar to glass, and can be used as substitutes in frozen food packaging, vegetable packaging, bakery packaging, and ready meal packaging owing to their characteristics such as reduced packaging weight and availability of a wide range of packaging designs. The spread of covid-19 impacted the packaging sector due to the unavailability of raw materials, shortage of workforce, and impartial functioning of manufacturing sectors. The market is expected to recover with changing consumers’ preferences and demand for packaged water and food. According to Vanden Recycling Ltd, there has been no reduction in demand for PET and HDPE to be used in plastic bottles, and other polymers are also in demand for other plastic packing applications during the covid-19 pandemic.
Moreover, in 2020, in regions such as Asia-Pacific, North America, and Europe, the demand for pharmaceuticals has increased at a rapid rate. Manufacturers have increased production rates to meet the growing demand. This is expected to increase the demand for plastic injection molded plastics for pharmaceutical packaging applications. Due to these factors, the growing demand for plastics in various packaging applications should increase the growth of the printed plastics market with global injection.
Plastic is an ideal material for products in electronics since it is easy to mold and design and can be formed with reduced assembly costs with the incorporation of self-adhesive tabs that fit together without additional clips, staples, screws, or fasteners. As electronic parts are reduced in size, micro injection molding and very high molding tolerances provide high precision molding that allows high quality while creating smaller parts for smaller products. Some of the electronic components where injection molding is commonly used are earphone cables and plugs, LEDs and assemblies, motor housings, electrical relays and switches, sensors, temperature control, inkjet printers, computer boards, and cases, cell phone components and covers, electrical conduits, power tool cases and many more.
The materials used in the electronic plastic molding are PEEK, PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate), Polycarbonate, Thermoplastic Resins, PPS (Polyphenylylene Sulfide), ULTEM, PBT (Polybutylene Terephthalate), and others. The global consumer electronics industry has been growing rapidly worldwide over the years, owing to the consistently growing demand for gadgets such as cell phones, portable computing devices, gaming systems, and other personal electronic devices. The Indian electronics market is anticipated to reach USD 400 billion by 2025. Furthermore, India is expected to become the fifth-largest consumer electronics and home appliances industry in the world by 2025. Additionally, in India, technology transitions like the rollout of 4G/LTE networks and IoT (Internet of Things) are driving the adoption of electronics products. The number of smartphone users in China is also growing rapidly. The number of smartphone users in the country is expected to reach 868.2 million by 2023.
One of the major factors hampering the global injection molded plastics market growth is the environmental hazards associated with them. Plastics are usually derived from crude oil and typically release large amounts of toxic gases into the environment both during production and during ignition. It turns out that global carbon dioxide emissions are on the rise due to the rapid industrialization of developing countries. According to Statista, global emissions were roughly 23 billion metric ton, but by 2019 it has reached a record high of 36.44 billion metric tons. China is one of the largest CO2 emitters because of rapid infrastructure development and industrialization as major carbon dioxide emitting industries such as construction, transportation, and chemicals are mushrooming in the country on a large scale. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), greenhouse gas emissions are expected to reach 3.1 metric giga tons by 2027. Increasing greenhouse gas emissions is increasing the global temperature. According to the IEA, the global temperatures are not expected to exceed pre-industrial levels by more than 20°C by 2025.
Therefore, the IEA has recommended the use of coal as a feedstock for petrochemicals instead of naphtha and natural gas, as coal has lesser CO2 emissions. The IEA also suggests that all countries should cut down fossil-fuel subsidies and adopt energy-efficient production methods. REACH has levied strict guidelines on the production of petrochemicals used to manufacture plastics, and hence several substances have to undergo deep risk assessment within the framework of the Council Regulation (EEC) No. 793/93 on Existing Substances. The main aim of REACH is to protect human health and the environment from hazardous chemical substances.
Several reactive policies and regulations have focused on plastic packaging. Container and packaging designers and manufacturers are under pressure to consider the composition and life cycle of their products. Many manufacturers are looking to source recycled content and incorporate it into packaging design, with the UK government consulting on a tax on plastic packaging made from less than 30% recycled content by 2022. Hence, such kinds of rising environmental concerns and the implementation of strict government policies are restraining market growth.
With vivid developments in automobile technologies, conventional plastics are being replaced by high-performance materials including thermoplastic elastomers, which have properties of both plastic and rubber and have lesser weight as compared to steel and other plastic materials. The impact of using these injection molded thermoplastic elastomers and other engineering plastics for auto component manufacturing is visible as it reduces the overall weight of cars to almost by 40%. Moreover, all the requirements that were fulfilled by traditional rubber components are now being fulfilled by these materials. Plastics are an essential part of the new trend in the near future as they are able to provide substantial weight reduction.
Recent developments in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) have forced automobile makers to find new ways to reduce fuel consumption. Lightweight will be a vital factor in meeting the regulations due to the inherent correlation between mass and fuel consumption. A 10% reduction in the weight of an automobile can result in about 5% to 7% fuel savings. In addition to this, the reduced weight helps control the emission of CO2 over the life cycle of the vehicle. Reduction in weight is known to improve the overall performance of a vehicle in terms of its acceleration and handling. This mass reduction in bumpy places helps reduce noise and vibration, providing a smoother ride.
In order to enhance the performance of automobiles and to follow the trend of lightweight vehicles, auto manufacturers have been mainly focusing on auto components that are manufactured from various types of thermoplastic elastomers. In addition, reduced weight provides a buffer for other weight-consuming technologies such as those used in electrical automobiles, which use heavyweight batteries. This provides an opportunity for electric vehicles. In 2019, the number of light electric vehicles globally reached 2,264,400 units, 9% higher than that of 2018. However, the first half of 2020 was clouded by freezes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to lower monthly vehicle sales from February.
According to EV Volumes, for the first 6 months of 2020, the volume loss was 28% for the total light vehicle market, as compared to H1 of 2019. Furthermore, the demand for electric vehicles will remain diverse in 2020, depending on the awareness and government policies in the region. According to EV Volumes, by 2030, the global fleet of electric vehicles (excluding two/three-wheel vehicles) will be likely to reach nearly 140 million vehicles which represent 7% of the global car fleet. It is forecasted that 30% of all vehicles except two-wheelers will be electric by 2030. Therefore, such growing demand for electric vehicles in recent years and the upcoming consumer shift toward electric vehicles may create an opportunity for the induction molding of plastics for electric vehicles.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a huge economic crisis across the globe. It is forecasted that the economy will contract more than previously expected, owing to the lockdowns in business and public life owing to the pandemic. According to the latest predictions in January of 2021 by IMF, the global economic growth was estimated to contract by 4.4% in 2020 before growing by 5.5% in 2021. Since the demand for plastic injection molding is directly associated with the electronics and automotive industry and linked to the GDP growth, this situation creates many challenges for the global plastic injection molding market. The outbreak of COVID-19 has consequences in various industries, such as transportation, electronics, automotive, and other industrial manufacturing, which may affect the plastic injection molding market.
The aerospace and defense industry is one of the major end-users of plastic injection molding, where the market took a major hit in 2020 owing to COVID-19. Owing to the pandemic impact, the activity in the commercial aerospace market may take a long duration to return to the levels observed in early 2020. Some players in the aerospace manufacturing industry, including Boeing and Rolls-Royce, have announced production cuts. The spread of COVID-19 further impacted the electronics supply chain and created a shortage of components like chips, semiconductors, circuit boards, and other components. This shortage in the supply chain led many automotive manufacturers and consumer electronics manufacturer to halt their production or produce with reduced capacity.
Due to the spread of COVID-19, the first half of 2020 has been a challenge for the automotive industry. According to Fiat Group World, during the first six months of this year, the industry sold 11,818,000 units less than in H1 2019. China and some Asian markets were the first to be affected, causing global sales to drop 24% in the first quarter. As the pandemic arrived in Europe, India, the United States, and Latin America during Q2 of 2020, sales started to fall in those markets. Sales fell from 17.15 million units in Q1 to 15.87 million in Q2, and the percentage variations compared to the respective quarters in 2019 were -24% and -29%, respectively. Still, there is a huge uncertainty hovering around the future of these industries, which can have a negative impact on the plastic injection molding market.
The global plastic injection molding market share is classified on the basis of raw materials and applications.
Based on the types of raw materials used, polypropylene is the major shareholder in the global plastic injection molding market. The market revenue was valued at USD 48999 million in 2021. In recent times, polypropylene is mostly used in injection molding since it can be quickly melted and molded into any shape or size without losing its original properties. Polypropylene has a range of properties such as superior working temperature, tensile strength, high chemical resistance, and low moisture absorption that will drive its demand in a variety of applications. The growing trend of the shift from steel to plastic in automotive vehicles also leads to the growth of plastic injection molding in the automotive industry. Moreover, manufacturers are mainly focusing on reducing the weight of vehicles in order to improve fuel efficiency. This factor has increased the use of polypropylene to replace metal, which can lead to market growth. The global market for polypropylene is projected to generate USD 70652 million in 2030 and grow at a CAGR of 4% by 2030.
Based on application, the packaging is the largest market holder. It was valued at USD 43917 million in 2021. Plastic injection molding is generally used for rigid bulk packaging, thin-wall packaging, caps, and closures. The fame and requirement for flexible packaging is accelerating in emerging and developing economies. This demand is supported by continued economic expansion and an acceleration in the food and beverage output. The pandemic has led to an increase in online shopping, from clothes to appliances to food, boosting the packaging industry. The growing demand for packaging for various applications, from food to pharmaceutical packaging, is most likely to drive the market for plastic injection molding. The global market for the packaging industry is projected to generate USD 60587 million in 2030 and grow at a CAGR of 4% by 2030.
Based on region, the plastic injection molding market share is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America, and Middle-East & Africa.
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Asia-Pacific is anticipated to hold the largest market share of USD 71046 million by 2030 at a CAGR of 5% during the forecast period. The market in Asia-Pacific was valued at USD 45562 million in 2021. Asia-Pacific is witnessing development in sectors like healthcare, automotive, electronics, pharmaceuticals, packaging, baby products, construction, etc. The use of plastic injection molded products in these industries is leading to the growth in market demand growth in the industries. China is the largest contributor to the market compared to other countries, which was valued at USD 19381 million in 2021. India and Japan were growing their market gradually with market revenue of USD 10903 million and USD 8469 million, respectively in 2021.
Europe is the second contributor to the plastic injection molding market with revenue of USD 41821 million in 2021. Upcoming industries like construction, healthcare technology, and food packaging are driving the market growth in this region. The UK and Germany have more market revenue compared to Italy and France. The market revenue of the UK and Germany were valued at USD 19429 million and USD 7882 million, respectively.
The plastics injection molding market in North America is expected to witness gradual growth with a value of USD 24996 million in 2021. The development of medical technologies, the increasing use of smartphones, lightweight automotive components, and the development of the construction industry have boosted the demand for plastic injection molding in this region. The US has the major market in this region, with a revenue of USD 20891 million in 2021.
South America and Middle East & Africa have the lowest market owing to declining economic growth due to the COVID-19 impact. In 2021, the market revenue in South America was valued at USD 100610 million, with Brazil being their major contributor. The market in Middle East & Africa was valued at USD 11791 million in 2021 with Saudi Arabia being the major contributor.