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Polyolefins Market: Information by Type (Polyethylene, Polypropylene, Polystyrene), Application (Film & Sheet, Injection Molding, Blow Molding), and Region — Forecast till 2030

Market Snapshot
Study Period:
2020-2030
Base Year:
2021
Fastest Growing Market:
Europe
Largest Market:
Asia Pacific
CAGR:
13 %
Key Players
ExxonMobil Corporation

SABIC

Total SE

Repsol

Ineos Group AG

Reliance Industries

The global polyolefins market size was worth USD172 billion in 2021. It is estimated to reach an expected value of USD 505 billion by 2030 at a CAGR of 13% during the projected period (2022-2030). Polyolefin is a high-molecular-weight hydrocarbon produced from hydrocarbon, olefin, or monomers. Polyolefin exhibits high processability, superior chemical stability, and prolonged durability, and it is also resistant to chemicals at room temperature. Polyolefins are primarily used in plastic production, holding two-thirds of plastic needs. One of the factors responsible for the rise in implementation of polyolefins is their characteristics, such as temperature resistance, high impact strength, and chemical resistance. Moreover, polyolefins majorly find their use in plastics and flexible plastic items. Additionally, the global lockdown due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic led to an increase in penetration of the e-commerce platforms, which enabled home deliveries, thereby augmenting the demand for consumer packaging. This consequently increased the demand for polyolefins in 2020.

The global polyolefins market is divided into type, application, and region. 

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Market Dynamics

Global Polyolefins Market Drivers

  • Increase in Demand from Healthcare Sector

Modern healthcare would be impossible without the implementation of polyolefins. A wide range of thermoplastic materials are used in various healthcare applications, and about 90% of those applications consist of polyolefins. Polyolefins are increasingly being adopted as a substitute material for glass and metal, owing to their enhanced physical properties and compliance with medical and environmental regulations. Furthermore, they are used in medical equipment such as syringes, drug delivery systems, nasal sprays, and surgical instruments.

In addition, it is used in a wide range of pharmaceutical packaging solutions, such as container and closure systems. However, with regulatory scrutiny toward the use of plastics in the healthcare sector, economic uncertainty, and consumer sensitivity, the usage of polyolefin in healthcare applications continues to grow.

Furthermore, the demand for syringes has increased due to the ongoing pandemic. Companies, such as Hindustan Syringes & Medical Devices Ltd. (HMD), heavily invest in improving their production capacity to meet the increasing consumer demand. This sudden increase in demand for syringes is anticipated to escalate the need for polypropylene eventually. In addition to this, governments are investing more funds in the production of needles, which notably contributes to the growth of the overall market.

  • Rise in Deployment of Renewable Energy

Many countries are focusing on sustainable development and increasing the share of renewable energy in total energy consumption and generation. European countries are leading in the renewable energy sector, owing to massive investments to meet climate change goals. Germany, Sweden, Spain, and Italy are some European countries contributing to the growth of the renewable energy sector. In addition, Brazil, Japan, Turkey, China, the U.S., and Australia contribute to the renewable energy sector growth. In addition, an increase in investment in the renewable energy sector is decreasing the dependence on coal for energy generation.

With the focus shifting toward developing renewable energy, the demand for polyolefins has increased. These polyolefins-based products find application in many appliances used to produce renewable energy infrastructure or equipment. The U.S. is amongst the world's leading hydropower producers, with parts of the Pacific Northwest using hydropower to supply up to 70% of their electricity. These hydroelectric power stations require a turbine, bearing, and other components made up of high-density polyolefins (HDPE).

Furthermore, in solar energy production, polystyrene and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) are being used to replace metal junction boxes. In addition, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) is used in manufacturing large diameter, solid wall conduits, which are used in wind farms to secure electrical cables and the environment. Thus, all these factors collectively increase the deployment of renewable energy and correspondingly boost the demand for polyolefins.

Global Polyolefins Market Restraint

  • Volatile Prices of Raw Materials

The cost of the product is directly proportional to the cost of the raw material used. The changes strongly influence the polyolefin market in raw materials and commodities prices. Volatility in the cost of primary substance is an obstacle in the production of polyolefins because if the price of raw material increases, the cost of polyolefins also escalates.

The key raw material used to produce polyolefins is olefins produced by cracking oil and natural gas. The price of polyolefins follows the price of oil. The continued spike in oil and natural gas costs is causing concern, as they are used to produce olefin and its derivatives.

In March 2020, the price of crude oil was 32.20$ per barrel; however, due to less demand and oversupply due to lockdown in various counties, the price increased to 64.61$ per barrel in April 2021. This fluctuation in the cost of crude oil has forced companies to buy less crude oil, which is affecting the production of polyolefins.

Global Polyolefins Market Opportunities

  • Expansion of Food Sector in Emerging Economies

Polyolefins are used as a packaging material in the food sector as they are nonpolar, odorless, nonporous materials. Polyolefins, such as high-density polyethylene (HDPE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), isotactic polypropylene (PP), linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), and some polyethylene-based copolymers are widely used in food packaging. Polyolefin films are relatively inexpensive and exhibit enhanced moisture and gas barrier properties.

Moreover, they are heat tolerant and prevent food leakage. Furthermore, they add less weight to the packaging and precisely suit the food's form, taking up less storage and delivery space. In developing countries like India and China, the food industry is expanding as the population increases. The rapid development of the food industry will eventually increase the demand for packaging material, which is anticipated to offer remunerative opportunities to expand the global polyolefins market in emerging economies.

 

Segmental Analysis of the Global Polyolefins Market

The global polyolefins market share is divided by type, application, and region.

By type, the market is segregated into polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), and polystyrene (PS). 

  • By Types

The polyethylene segment dominated the market. It is estimated to reach an expected value of USD 333315 million by 2030 at a CAGR of 12%. Polyethylene is gaining high traction in the global market, owing to the rapid expansion of the food sector in developing nations like China and India and the development of the renewable energy sector. This is accredited to the fact that polyethylene is widely used in the packaging of foods. Furthermore, high-density polyethylene conduits are used in wind farms to protect electrical wires. In addition, polyethylene is used as battery separators and junction boxes in renewable projects such as solar energy plants.

The polypropylene segment is the fastest-growing market. It is estimated to reach an expected value of USD 225300 million by 2030 at a CAGR of 14%. The demand for polypropylene is increasing considerably due to the surging need for syringes, medical vials, and specimen bottles. This is attributable to an increase in vaccination drives in various countries, such as Israel, the U.S., and India owing to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the demand for food packaging increased due to uncertainty or fear of lockdown in many countries. This is attributed to the fate of lockdowns leading to panic buying of food and health products, which correspondingly increased the demand for polypropylene.

The polystyrene segment is the third-largest market. It is estimated to reach an expected value of USD 9625million by 2030 at a CAGR of 12%. The significant parameters for the growth of the polystyrene market are high adoption in insulation applications and increased adoption in automotive applications. High-impact polystyrene is used for automotive applications such as vacuum forming car components and parts of vehicle prototypes. Furthermore, it is used in insulation applications in the construction sector, such as insulated panel systems for roof walls and facades. In addition, the demand for polystyrene is increasing for medical applications such as petri dishes and test tubes.

By applications, the market is segregated into film & sheet, injection molding, blow molding, profile extrusion, and others.

  • By Applications

The film & sheet segment dominated the market. It is estimated to reach an expected USD 198175 million by 2030 at a CAGR of 13%. The primary factor for the market growth is a surge in demand for bi-axially oriented polyolefins films. However, a factor restraining the order for polyolefin films and sheets is the implementation of stringent regulations restricting the utilization of non-biodegradable plastics. On the contrary, a rise in the use of plastic films and sheets in agriculture and an increase in demand for specialty films is anticipated to offer potential growth opportunities for market expansion.

Moreover, plastic films are used as mulch films and greenhouses. The role of mulch films is to limit weed growth, improve soil temperature, stop moisture loss, and enhance crop yield. Greenhouses act as comprehensive care units as plants are exposed to sunlight and grow in the best conditions according to their physiological characteristics.

Injection molding is the fastest-growing segment. It is estimated to reach an expected USD 154050 million by 2030 at a CAGR of 13%. Some of the factors increasing demand for polyolefin in injection molding are fast manufacturing, high efficiency in terms of the number of parts manufactured per hour, low labor costs, design flexibility, high-output production, and enhanced strength of plastic products, and product consistency. As automation has increased in the injection molding process, labor costs have decreased. However, factors challenging the market for injection molding are high tooling costs, part design restrictions, and costly small runs.

Profile extrusion is the third-largest market. It is estimated to reach an expected value of USD 92050 million by 2030 at a CAGR of 12%. It has numerous advantages such as relatively low tooling costs, equipment widely available in all geographical regions, economical process, different product combinations, and design freedom. The main drawback of the profile extrusion is the size variances. For instance, when the plastic leaves the extruder, it usually expands. This expansion of the plastic is known as die swell. This unpredictable expansion makes precision parts manufacturing tough, a critical challenge for the market.

 

Regional Analysis of the Global Polyolefins Market

By region, the market is divided into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA. 

Which Region Accounts for Most Demand for Polyolefins?

Polyolefins Market Regional Analysis

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The Asia-Pacific dominated the market. It is estimated to reach an expected value of USD 47165 million by 2030 at a CAGR of 13%. This is attributed to countries such as China, India, and Japan, as these countries have established and developed consumer bases in the electronics manufacturing and construction sector. The outbreak of COVID-19 in China hampered the polyolefins market intensively as it is one of the major consumers of polyolefins. This is attributed to industries such as packaging, toy manufacturing, construction industry, and automotive.

Europe is the second-largest region. It is estimated to reach an expected value of USD 7580 million by 2030 at a CAGR of 7%. Europe is analyzed across Germany, France, the UK, Italy, Spain, and the rest of Europe. Germany is one of the most significant users of polyolefins, owing to the expansion of the packaging and automotive industries. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to lockdown across multiple countries in Europe, which led to panic buying of consumer goods such as food, health, and hygiene products. This created a demand for polyolefins in the packaging sector. Other sectors such as automotive and construction, where polyolefins are significantly used, are witnessing a decrease in performance, owing to which the polyolefins have seen a reduction in demand in 2020.

North America is the third largest region. It is estimated to reach an expected value of USD 8085 million by 2030 at a CAGR of 12%. In North America, plastic is majorly consumed in the packaging, construction, automotive, and electrical & electronics industries, which acts as the key driving force of the market. Furthermore, owing to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for packaging increased due to the rise in the penetration of e-commerce frameworks.

In addition, the demand for polyolefins increased in the healthcare sector due to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The increase in the development of vaccines during the global health crisis has further boosted the demand for polypropylene, as it is used in manufacturing syringes, vials, and specimen bottles.

 

Competitive Landscape

List of Top Polyolefins Market Manufacturers

  • ExxonMobil Corporation
  • SABIC
  • Total SE
  • Repsol
  • Ineos Group AG
  • Reliance Industries
  • LyondellBasell Industries N.V.
  • Sinopec Group
  • Ducor Petrochemical
  • Formosa Plastics Corporation
  • Borealis AG
  • Arkema S.A.
  • Braskem S.A
  • Abu Dhabi Polymers Company Ltd. (Borouge)
  • Sasol Ltd
  • Tosoh Corporation
  • Polyone Corporation.

 

Recent Developments by Key Players

  • January 2021 - LyondellBasell and Sinopec finalized their joint venture to manufacture propylene oxide and styrene monomer in China. They will construct a new PO and SM unit in Zhenhai Ningbo, China. This unique unit will have a 275 kiloton per annum (KTA) capacity of PO and a 600 KTA capacity of SM.
  • March 2022 -Tosoh Corporation today acquired all shares in consolidated subsidiary Taiyo Vinyl Corporation (Head office: Minato-ku, Tokyo; capital contribution ratio: Tosoh 68%, Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. 16%, and Denka Co., Ltd. 16%) held by Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. (Head office: Minato-ku, Tokyo; President and CEO: Osamu Hashimoto). This acquisition of shares results in Tosoh owning 84% and Denka Co., Ltd. holding 16% of Taiyo Vinyl Corporation.

 

Global Polyolefins Market: Segmentation

By Type

  • Polyethylene
  • Polypropylene
  • Polystyrene

By Application

By Region

  • North America
  • Europe
  • Asia-Pacific
  • LAMA
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