The global polyethylene film market size was valued at USD 86.1 billion in 2021. It is projected to reach USD 130.2 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 4.6% during the forecast period (2022–2030). Films made of polythene are created from polymers and ethylene and are primarily utilized in the plastics sector. Complex polymers create intricate, inflammable, fireproof, translucent, and opaque polythene plastic. The polythene film market is crucial to expanding the packaged food sector. Food is preserved for extended periods using polythene film, which keeps the food hygienic and secure by guarding against bacteria. These elements are anticipated to fuel the market for polythene films in the food and beverage industries.
Get more information on this report Download Sample Report
One of the most popular polymeric films used for packaging food and beverage is polythene film. It has several essential qualities, including lightweight, flexible, glossy surface, and moisture resistance, which makes it excellent for food packaging. It keeps food clean and safe by preserving food for extended periods by guarding against bacteria. Its lightweight properties also make packaged food and beverages easy to transport. Therefore, the expanding demand for polythene films in the food and beverage industries is expected to drive the market significantly.
The e-commerce sector is witnessing significant growth these days. The United Nations Conference on Trade & Developments reported that the share of e-commerce in global retail trade climbed from 14% in 2019 to 17% in 2020. Additionally, to assure frictionless product delivery and reduce the chance of COVID-19 infection, e-commerce companies like Flipkart, Amazon, Alibaba, and others have begun placing more emphasis on lightweight polythene film wrapping. This may lead the polyethylene film market to witness a significant increase in demand. In addition, several other companies such as Apple, Samsung, and others have introduced no-contact delivery where polyethylene films are used as a prime material for packaging products. Therefore, the rapid surge in demand for polyethylene films is expected to drive the market during the forecast period.
As the globe moves towards sustainability and eco-friendliness, green habits will continue to be promoted via eco-friendly packaging options. Consumers are now more inclined to utilize paper packaging products rather than polythene films. Additionally, growing consumer desire for paper packaging films in various applications, including food, cosmetics & personal care, pharmaceutical, and others, has been attributed to increased awareness of waste management and the need to reduce carbon footprints. This increase in the use of paper packaging films over polyethylene films due to environmental regulations and constraints is expected to restrain the growth of the polyethylene film market.
The use of biodegradable polythene films is rising quickly in response to the accumulation of plastic waste in landfills and the environment. Numerous techniques enhance its degradability under particular oxygen, moisture, sunshine, and compost conditions. Additionally, polythene films' biodegradation is improved by boosting their hydrophilic qualities and lowering the hydrophobic polymer throughout their production process. Furthermore, an increase in eco-friendly polyethylene films in healthcare, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, and other sectors is anticipated to create lucrative opportunities for the market during the forecast period.
The global polyethylene film market share is segmented based on technology, type, material, application, and region.
Based on technology, the global polyethylene film market is segmented into Blow Film Extrusion and Cast Film Extrusion.
Cast Film Extrusion technology dominates the market and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 4.8% during the forecast period. Cast films have benefits like uniform film gauge and better production rates because processors are used during manufacture. The global market demand is driven by applications like food packaging, textile packaging, flower wrapping, and photo album pages.
Blown Film Extrusion is the second-largest segment. Around 10–50% of LDPE with octene linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) are utilized in sealants webs of lamination films in specialty packaging applications. Additionally, monolayer films of LLDPE with 30–60% LDPE are used in collation shrink film applications. Other applications such as silage films, greenhouse films, and heavy-duty shipping sacks are driving the demand for the global market.
Based on type, the global polyethylene film market is segmented into Stretch Films and Shrink Films.
Stretch Films type dominates the global market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 4.7% during the forecast period. Using stretch film is considered one of the secure methods to wrap products during transportation. High elasticity recovery of the film enables the wrapped items to be bound tightly. New specialty grades of stretch films are designed, developed, and commercialized for existing applications in North America. These factors are augmenting the demand for stretch films in the global market.
Shrink Films are the second-largest segment. LLDPE shrink films are gaining importance in the packaging sector, owing to their benefits such as strength and durability. LLDPE shrink films are widely adopted for packaging heavier and larger items such as beverage multipacks. In addition, properties such as printability and clear graphics can be added to sustain the image and strength, making it suitable for pallet wrapping, snack wrapping, and frozen food wrapping. These factors are driving the adoption of shrink films, which has escalated the demand in the global market.
Based on material, the global polyethylene film market is segmented into Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE), High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), and Linear Low-Density Polyethylene (LLDPE).
Linear Low-Density Polyethylene (LLDPE) is the largest segment and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 4.5% during the forecast period. Impact resistance and tensile strength make LLDPE films suitable for applications such as carryout bags, trash liners, envelope films, and mattress bags. In addition, LLDPE films are capable of protecting contents inside the liquid containers, making them suitable for paper and paperboard packaging applications. Growth in demand for food packaging films that offer improved performance and minimal permeability has enhanced the use of LLDPE films for rigid container packaging to high-quality flexible packaging applications. This factor is escalating the demand for LLDPE films.
High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) is the fastest-growing segment. Growth in applications of HDPE films in the medical field in the production of artificial knee caps owing to the high molecular weight of high-density polyethylene coupled with its high efficiency and environmental acceptability is a key trend driving the market growth. Down gauge properties of HDPE films make them ideal for thinner film packaging that delivers the same level of performance. HDPE films are used in packaging, medical, industrial, and food industries. These factors are driving the demand of the global market.
Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) films are widely utilized for packaging and wrapping pharmaceutical products, cosmetics, glass bottles, and cartons. In addition, it can also be used for the packaging of cans, tins, durable consumer products, and other industrial products. The market is witnessing significant growth, owing to the rise in demand for using LDPE in medical film and the need for molded laboratory equipment, injection molding, and adhesive laminate. LDPE films can be used for protective packaging by using automatic shrink-wrapping machines. Moreover, the recyclability and lightweight of LDPE films further cut down transportation and freight costs, which is predicted to escalate the global market demand.
Based on application, the global polyethylene film market is segmented into Food & Beverage, Agriculture, Construction, Household, and Others.
Food & Beverage is the largest segment and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 5% during the forecast period. The primary market trend is the employment of LDPE films for supporting line structures such as frozen pork box liners and Gaylord boxes, utilized as liners for shipments of nuts and bolts, multiwall sack liners, and counter bags. Fresh meat is wrapped in stretch film, PE film, and shipping cartons and pellets. Given its excellent resistance to solvents, HDPE is a polymer frequently used to package goods like margarine tubs, cereal box liners, supermarket bags, and water and juice bottles. LDPE is used in squeezable food bottles, bags for bakery products such as bread, frozen food products, and flexible lids, owing to its heat-sealing property. These factors drive the adoption of polyethylene films in the food & beverages sector.
Household is the second-largest segment. Proliferating demand for polyethylene film in household packaging & protection applications such as cake liners, cereals, sandwiches, juice, furniture, kitchenware, and others is expected to drive the market growth. In addition, the increase in recyclability and biodegradability of polyethylene films has grabbed consumers' attention toward the use of polyethylene films in household items. This is anticipated to create lucrative opportunities for the polyethylene film market during the forecast period.
Agriculture is the fastest-growing segment. The use of plastic films in agriculture is increasing day by day. China is leading the consumption of PE film for agricultural applications, accounting for 1.22 million tons per year. In addition, the consumption of mulch films in agriculture applications was 2.0 million tons in 2019. The critical market trend escalates the production and use of PE films for farm applications. Furthermore, greenhouse and high tunnels are other majorly used techniques for increasing crop yield. PE films in the greenhouse have several benefits, such as the ability to control environmental temperature.
The lifecycle of PE films usually ranges from 6 to 45 months, mainly depending on the use of photo stabilizers, topographical location, climatic conditions, and use of pesticides. Countries that face low-temperature climatic conditions adopt high tunnels to create warmer environmental conditions for crops, which in turn elongates the growing season. In addition, countries that fall under tropical regions use high tunnels to extend the growing season, which helps permit crop production despite rainy and monsoon seasons. Mulch films are used widely in high tunnels, owing to their capability to reduce diseases, control pest pressure, and help warm up the soil, which ultimately improves crop yield and reduces the use of fertilizers. These factors are driving the demand for PE films in the agriculture sector.
Based on regions, the global polyethylene film market share is studied across North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.
Regional Growth Insights Request Sample Pages
Asia-Pacific is the largest region and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 5.2% during the forecast period. The key market trend in Asia-Pacific is to use PE films for applications such as plastic reservoirs, crates for crop collection, and irrigation systems. Asia-Pacific exhibits the largest market share, owing to rapid globalization, changing food consumption trends, low per capita consumption, and rapid economic growth. Japan represents mature markets with high levels of per capita consumption. Polyethylene films are also used for various netting applications such as anti-hail, anti-bird, wind-breaking, shading, and nets for olive and nut picking. These factors are predicted to escalate the demand for polyethylene films in this region.
Europe is the second-largest region. It is estimated to reach USD 26,315 million by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 4.4%. The plastic industry is a key market trend in Europe, owing to factors such as trade balance, multiplier effect, industrial value-added, public finances, and recycling. For instance, according to a study conducted by the Association of Plastics Manufacturers in Europe and The European Association of Plastics Recycling and Recovery Organizations (EPRO) in 2018, the European plastic sector has a positive trade balance of USD 18.5 billion and contributed USD 35.3 billion to public finances & welfare. In addition, other factors such as the multiplier effect of 2.4 to GDP and around 9.4 million tons of plastic post-consumer waste were collected to be recycled in Europe, which is predicted to directly or indirectly escalate the demand for polyethylene film market in this region.
The global polyethylene film market is analyzed across various parts of North America, such as the US, Canada, and Mexico. The polyethylene film business is a dynamic and innovative sector in North America, owing to resin grade development and product advancements. Polyethylene resin is widely used for making films in applications such as carrier bags, sandwich bags, freezer bags, and cling wrap. Another major factor contributing to the demand for PE film is its strength, durability, and ability to easily customize to different shapes, sizes, and visuals.