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Global Medical Packaging Films Market - Outlook and Forecast 2022-2027
The global medical packaging films market witnessed significant growth in 2021, reaching an estimated value of USD 6.21 billion. It is projected to exceed USD 8.90 billion by 2027, with a steady compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.18% during the forecast period. This growth is primarily driven by factors such as the increasing aging population, rising demand for medical devices and pharmaceuticals, and the need for flexible and sustainable packaging solutions.
Medical packaging plays a critical role in safeguarding medical and pharmaceutical products. It encompasses various packaging forms, ranging from pre-formed packages to customized packaging for specialty parts. Medical packaging films are extensively used in the pharmaceutical packaging process, providing a protective layer against harsh environmental conditions and external factors until the product reaches the end consumer.
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USD 6.2 billion in 2020
Material, Type, Application, End-User, and Geography
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These packaging films possess desirable properties such as chemical resistance, high transparency, lightweight, ease of handling, storage, and resealability. They find wide applications in the production of medical bags, blister packs, pouches, wraps, sachets, and labels. Common types of medical packaging films include polyethylene (PE), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyamide (PA), and metallic films.
Technological advancements have led to several innovations in medical packaging films. Notably, cold-formed foils (alu-alu packs) have emerged, effectively mitigating water vapor permeability, oxygen ingress, and light exposure. Additionally, anti-counterfeiting features like holographic printing and multi-colored designs, child-resistant films, senior-friendly films, and ultra-high barrier films have been introduced by vendors to enhance packaging security and convenience.
Various companies, such as ACG, Amcor, Berry Global, Neelam Global, and Schur Flexibles, have expanded their product offerings to include these innovative medical packaging films. These advancements are expected to play a significant role in shaping the future of the medical packaging film market.
The increasing adoption of flexible packaging solutions in the pharmaceutical sector is a major driver for the global medical packaging films market. Flexible packaging offers numerous advantages, including adaptability to different product shapes, ease of shipping, product protection, and reduced waste generation. It can also facilitate sterilization along with the packaged products, minimizing the risk of contamination.
Flexible laminates used for pharmaceutical packaging, such as flow wrap or form-fill-seal formats, offer automation opportunities, enhancing productivity, accuracy, and profitability. The demand for product protection, efficient shipping, waste reduction initiatives, and concerns regarding primary packaging contamination are fueling the growth of flexible packaging in the medical industry. Notably, Amcor reported a significant 52.9% increase in flexible packaging growth from 2019, indicating the growing demand for this packaging solution.
However, the implementation of these packaging trends comes at a cost, as raw material and commodity prices continue to escalate. Suppliers are grappling with profitability, while tier suppliers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) face the dilemma of raising prices or absorbing the cost increases. The procurement of raw materials has also been affected by trade restrictions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, with the anticipated relaxation of these restrictions in the post-pandemic period, key players in the market are expected to experience positive effects. Nevertheless, fluctuations in raw material prices and stringent regulations pose challenges to the growth of the medical packaging films market and are likely to persist during the forecast period. Several European and Asian countries have implemented environmental regulations that impact the industry’s growth trajectory.
The market is segmented based on various factors, including material, type, application, end-user, and geography.
Segmentation By Material
Segmentation By Type
Segmentation By Application
Segmentation By End-User
Medical Devices Companies
Segmentation by Geography
North America – US, Canada
Europe – Germany, France, UK, Italy, Spain
APAC – China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia
Latin America – Brazil, Mexico, Argentina
Middle East & Africa – South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE, Egypt
The polyethylene segment holds the largest market share of 28.09% in the global medical packaging films market, and it is projected to experience the highest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.60% during the forecast period. This growth can be attributed to the material’s high flexibility, conformability, excellent chemical resistance, and effective moisture barrier properties that prevent product contamination. The most commonly used polyethylene materials are HDPE and LDPE, with LDPE being well-known for its widespread use in plastic bags due to its low density.
Polypropylene (PP) materials accounted for 25.5% of the global medical packaging films market share in 2021. PP is a cost-effective thermoplastic with high clarity, gloss, and enhanced tensile strength. It has a higher melting point compared to polyethylene, making it more suitable for applications requiring sterilization at high temperatures. Metalizing PP can improve its gas barrier properties, which are essential for extending the shelf life of packaged products.
In terms of types, the global medical packaging films market is segmented into thermoformable and high-barrier films. Thermoformable films accounted for the highest revenue share of 57.78% in 2021. The thermoforming film packaging process has proven to be productive in the packaging industry, particularly for packing consumable and non-consumable products in the medical sector. Thermoformable films offer advantages such as product protection, cost-effectiveness, sustainability, fast turnaround, and minimal waste. Thermoforming is a financially efficient option due to the low material costs, with thermoformed plastic products costing up to 15% less than those made through injection molding. Additionally, the process has a quick turnaround time, resulting in potential savings on labor costs.
Under the application segment, bags accounted for over half of the market share in the medical packaging films market. Plastic films are widely used in the manufacturing of medical bags as they enhance shelf life, reduce bacterial contamination, and improve bag durability during transportation. Nelipak Healthcare Packaging, a global technology provider based in the US, offers a wide range of rigid and flexible bag films such as LLDPE bag films.
The tube segment of the global medical packaging films market was valued at USD 1.13 billion in 2021. The introduction of eco-friendly tubes, such as Hoffmann Neopac’s Polyfoil MMB tubes, is expected to create significant growth opportunities during the forecast period. These innovative tubes can reduce packaging carbon footprints by up to 38% compared to traditional laminated tubes.
Among the end-user categories, pharmaceutical companies accounted for the highest revenue share in the global medical packaging films market. The demand for packaging in the pharmaceutical industry has grown significantly due to the increased demand for pharmaceuticals, particularly in emerging markets. Pharmaceutical companies are focusing on emerging markets and developing innovative and advanced packaging solutions for therapies such as cell and gene therapy, 3D printed drugs, and precision medicines.
In 2021, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region held the largest share of the global medical packaging films market, driven by the growing demand for pharmaceuticals. APAC accounts for 30% of all global pharmaceutical spending, and as the region’s healthcare burden increases, especially for chronic disease treatment, this demand is expected to rise further. APAC also has the highest aging population, which contributes to the growth of the medical packaging films market due to increasing chronic diseases and healthcare spending. Additionally, the rising consumption of plastics in the medical industry, particularly in China where the flexible packaging market is in high demand, fuels the growth of the medical packaging films market.
Europe ranks as the second-largest pharmaceutical packaging market, followed by North America, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa. The significant growth of the medical packaging films market in Europe is attributed to the high demand for recyclable plastics in pharmaceutical packaging. The volume of plastic packaging waste being recycled in the region increased sharply by 50% between 2009 and 2019.
Latin America and the Middle East & Africa are emerging as significant markets for the medical packaging films market. The increasing elderly population is one of the driving factors behind this trend. With a growing focus on pharmaceutical manufacturing, packaging vendors have excellent growth opportunities in these regions during the forecast period. Furthermore, increased foreign investments, growth in local manufacturing, and rising pharmaceutical production are strengthening the pharmaceutical packaging industry in Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa.
The global medical packaging films market is characterized by its dynamic and competitive nature, with numerous international, regional, and local vendors offering a wide array of medical packaging films for various applications. Technological advancements play a significant role in shaping the market trends, including the development of films with features such as child-resistance, senior-friendliness, high-barrier properties (e.g., alu-alu packs or aluminum cold-forming blister foils), thermoforming capabilities, specialty formulations, unit-dose packaging, and eco-friendly or bioplastic materials.
ACG and adapa Group (formerly Schur Flexibles) companies are prominent providers of thermoforming films that offer exceptional barrier protection against oxygen and moisture. Specialty Films company offers the Maskit Thermoformable Protective Film, which can withstand high temperatures up to 190°C, is easily peelable, resealable, 100% recyclable, and environmentally friendly. Increasingly, anti-counterfeiting features are being incorporated into the films to safeguard products and enable effective tracking.
Global players in the market are expected to expand their presence, particularly by focusing on product features and pricing strategies. Leading companies with established positions in developed nations are strategically extending their business operations in low- and middle-income countries, driven by factors such as the growing aging population and the prevalence of chronic diseases. Additionally, the market is witnessing continuous growth through advancements in technology, leading to the introduction of new products. Expansion initiatives by vendors are strengthening their global distribution networks and enabling them to explore untapped opportunities.
Key companies profiled in this report include Berry Global, Amcor, AptarGroup, Sealed Air, 3M, ACG, adapa Group, Avient, AVI Global Plast, CCL Industries, CellBios Healthcare & Lifesciences, Covestro, Coveris, DuPont, Glenroy, Honeywell International, Liveo Research, Meghmani Group, Neelam Global, Novolex, Profol, POLYCINE, Printpack, RENOLIT, Speciality Polyfilms, Super Olefins, Tekniplex, West Pharmaceutical Services, Wihuri Group.
Recent Industry Developments
In 2019, Amcor made an investment of approximately USD 11 million in Bristol, UK, for the development of its next generation of medical device packaging, utilizing a new Advanced Cast Extrusion Technology.
In July 2021, Pregis, a leading global provider of innovative protective packaging materials, invested around USD 80 million in a state-of-the-art blown film extrusion facility. This facility was established to manufacture the latest engineered films dedicated to the production of medical device packaging solutions.
Key Questions Answered
What is the valuation of the global medical packaging films market in 2021?
The global medical packaging films market was valued at USD 6.21 billion in 2021.
What is the growth rate projected for the global medical packaging films market?
The global medical packaging films market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.18% from 2021 to 2027.
What is the projected value of the global medical packaging films market by 2027?
The medical packaging films market size is expected to reach USD 8.90 billion by 2027.
What are some notable trends in the medical packaging films market?
Key trends in the medical packaging films market include the increasing focus on eco-friendly packaging, the growing popularity of bi-axially oriented polypropylene films, and the rising demand for innovative packaging films.
Which region dominates the global medical packaging films market?
The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region held the largest global medical packaging films market share at 31.56% in 2021. The growing demand for medical devices and pharmaceuticals is a major driver for the market’s growth in APAC.
Who are the major players in the global medical packaging films market?
Some key players in the global medical packaging films market include Berry Global, Amcor, AptarGroup, and Sealed Air.