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Global Thermoformed Plastics Market Research Report Forecast to 2030
The global thermoformed plastic market is expected to experience significant growth with a projected CAGR of 4.91% during the review period. In 2021, the market was estimated to be worth USD 35.09 billion and is anticipated to reach USD 53.31 billion by the end of the forecast period (2022-2030).
Thermoforming is an industrial process where a plastic sheet is heated to a flexible temperature, molded into a precise shape, and then cut to create functional products. This process can involve heating the sheet in an oven to allow it to stretch onto a mold and then chilling it to achieve the desired shape. Vacuum forming is a simplified version of this process. Many thermoforming companies recycle their scrap and used plastic by compressing it in a baling machine or grinding it into flakes, which can be sold to reprocessing companies or used internally.
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USD 35.1 billion in 2020
Product, Process, Application, and Region
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One of the major advantages of thermoform packaging is its ability to create thin sheets of precise size and shape for specific requirements. The food and beverage industry, in particular, is increasingly interested in thermoformed products due to their flexibility. The expansion of the food sector plays a significant role in driving the demand for thermoformed packaging. The forecast period is expected to see increased demand for thermoformed packaging in the meat, poultry, and seafood industries. This growing need for food packaging will drive the expansion of the thermoforming packaging market. Various thermoforming materials such as PP, PET, PS, PLA, and CPLA can be used for food packaging. Different materials require different temperature settings to achieve optimal material distribution and create suitable shapes for food packaging. Polypropylene (PP) is commonly used to produce cups, trays, margarine tubs, sandwich packs, disposable items, beverage glasses, and microwaveable containers. The polypropylene packaging product sector is expected to grow due to increased demand. PET, or polyethylene terephthalate, is another widely used thermoformed polymer, commonly used for bottles, synthetic fibers, and thermoformed packaging.
The key drivers of the global thermoformed plastic market include increasing demand from the healthcare sector and rising demand for food packaging. The growth of e-commerce, especially during the pandemic, has also had a positive impact on the packaging industry, thereby benefiting the global thermoformed plastic market. The market has significant growth potential over the next decade, especially with the growing use of In-Mold Labelling in packaging. However, fluctuations in the prices of raw materials such as oil, natural gas, and coal are expected to hinder market growth. Additionally, the availability of alternatives to thermoformed plastic could pose a potential threat to the market. Consequently, these factors may present challenges to the global thermoformed plastic market.
The market is segmented based on various factors, including product, process, application, and region.
Segmentation by Product
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS)
Segmentation by Process
Segmentation by Application
Electrical & Electronics
Segmentation by Geography
North America – US, Canada
Europe – Germany, France, UK, Italy, Spain, Rest of Europe
Asia-Pacific – China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia, Rest of Asia-Pacific
Latin America – Brazil, Mexico, Argentina
Middle East & Africa – South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE, Egypt
The global thermoformed plastics market can be segmented by product, process, application, and region. In terms of product, the market includes polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), high impact polystyrene (HIPS), biodegradable polymer, and others. The polyethylene segment emerged as the leading and fastest-growing segment, driven by its abrasion resistance, lightweight nature, mechanical strength, and toughness. On the other hand, the polypropylene segment holds the majority share in 2022, mainly due to its widespread use in food packaging products.
Regarding the process, the market is categorized into vacuum forming, pressure forming, and mechanical forming. Vacuum forming dominates the market, where plastic sheets are heated and stretched over a mold while applying vacuum pressure to achieve the desired shape. Pressure forming is expected to have the highest growth rate, enabling plastic to acquire grained surface details and smoother finishes.
In terms of application, the market is divided into packaging, construction, electrical & electronics, automotive packaging, consumer goods, and others. Packaging represents the largest segment, driven by the increasing adoption of lightweight and sustainable materials. Thermoformed plastics are recyclable and can be made from renewable resources, making them an environmentally friendly choice for packaging.
Geographically, the market is analyzed across North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Rest of the World. North America currently leads the market, supported by rapid industrialization and developments in the packaging sector. The region’s expanding suppliers and manufacturers of thermoformed plastic products further contribute to its growth. The largest market for thermoformed plastics is in the U.S., followed by Canada. The Asia Pacific region is expected to experience the highest growth rate, driven by the rapid economic expansion of countries like China and India. China, in particular, is a significant producer and supplier of thermoformed plastics machinery.
Prominent market players are allocating substantial investments towards research and development activities in order to expand their product portfolios, thereby fostering further growth in the market. These participants are also implementing diverse strategic initiatives to enhance their global presence. Key market developments include new product launches, contractual agreements, mergers and acquisitions, increased investments, and collaborations with other organizations. Given the intensifying competition and a growing market landscape, competitors in the Thermoformed Plastics industry must provide cost-effective offerings to expand and sustain their positions.
One of the primary business tactics employed by manufacturers in the global Thermoformed Plastics industry is local manufacturing to reduce operational costs. Market leaders, including Pactiv, Sonoco Products Company, Spencer Industries Incorporated, Brentwood Industries, Genpak, and others, are striving to stimulate market demand by investing in research and development endeavors.
Pactiv is a globally recognized manufacturer and supplier of food packaging and food service products. The company’s extensive product portfolio encompasses a wide range of packaging solutions tailored for the food industry, such as thermoformed plastic containers, trays, cups, lids, as well as paperboard and molded fiber products. Pactiv also provides packaging solutions for non-food applications, including medical and industrial packaging. Moreover, the company offers various food service products, such as plates, bowls, cutlery, napkins, and cups, catering to restaurants, cafeterias, and other food service establishments.
Sonoco Products Company operates on a global scale, delivering diversified consumer packaging, industrial products, protective packaging, as well as display and packaging services. Sonoco’s comprehensive product portfolio includes paper and plastic packaging, rigid paper containers, flexible packaging, composite cans, among others, catering to both consumer and industrial markets. The company also provides packaging services ranging from design and testing to fulfillment, ensuring customers’ specific requirements are met. Additionally, Sonoco offers various industrial products, including tubes and cores, reels and spools, adhesives, and specialty films. The company’s protective packaging solutions are designed to safeguard fragile and high-value items such as electronics, appliances, and medical devices.
The report profiles several key companies, including Pactiv, Sonoco Products Company, Spencer Industries Incorporated, Brentwood Industries, Genpak, Placon, Silgan Plastics, Graham Packaging Company, and Wilbert Plastic Services Inc.
Recent Industry Developments
In November 2022, Sonoco announced the execution of a definitive agreement for the acquisition of Clear Pack Company. Clear Pack Company is a privately-owned company situated in Franklin Park, Illinois, specializing in the production of thermoformed and extruded plastic materials and containers. This acquisition is part of Sonoco’s strategic growth plan to enhance its capabilities and expand its market presence in the industry.
Key Questions Answered
What is the current valuation of the Thermoformed Plastics market?
What is the rate of growth of the Thermoformed Plastics market?
Which region dominates the Thermoformed Plastics market in terms of market share?
Who are the major players in the Thermoformed Plastics market?
Which specific product holds the leading position in the Thermoformed Plastics market?
Which application segment has the largest market share in the Thermoformed Plastics market?