A Material for Everything and Everyone: Ceresana Report on the European Market for Plastics

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Plastics play a major role in the “Green Deal” that aims to make Europe climate-neutral by 2050. EU initiatives for circular economy and bioeconomy promote recycling and bioplastics, whereas plastic waste and microplastics are to be restricted. Further, Europe wants to become less dependent on oil and gas imports. This is the second time Ceresana has analyzed the entire European market for all commercially important plastics: from mass-produced standard polymers, such as polyethylene, polypropylene, PET or PVC, to high-performance plastics needed for lightweight construction and special technical applications.

A Growing Market for Plastics

Market researchers at Ceresana expect average sales growth of 2.0% per year for the European plastics industry. This major economic sector is thus expected to reach a volume of around EUR 107 billion in 2031. This impressive figure does not include synthetic fibers for textiles; nor does it take into account synthetic resins and silicones for paints and coatings, adhesives and sealants. In Europe, Germany is the largest producer of plastics, with a market share of almost 22%, followed by Russia, Belgium and France. Regionally, production and consumption of plastics are developing very differently. Ceresana’s new plastics market report examines the different types of plastics and their areas of application in detail.

Polymers for Packaging and Construction

Packaging and construction products currently account for around 68% of total demand for plastics in Europe. The two plastic types polyethylene and polypropylene dominate the “flexible packaging” application area, i.e. films, bags and sacks. PET, on the other hand, is the main type of plastic used for “rigid packaging” in Europe, for example for bottles and lids, cans, cups and boxes. Instead of bottles, plastic bags are increasingly being used for some beverages. Compostable bioplastics are becoming increasingly competitive, especially for food packaging. In the construction industry, plastics are needed for both structural and civil engineering, for example for films, cables, pipes, profiles, dowels, coatings and membranes. Despite concerns from environmentalists, PVC is still the most widely used type of plastic in this sector. Insulation materials such as EPS help save energy.

Current Market Data on Plastics

Chapter 1 provides a detailed presentation and analysis of the European market for plastics – including forecasts to 2031. It further examines the various application areas of plastics: Flexible packaging, Rigid packaging, Construction, Transportation, Electrical and electronics, Industry, other applications. These types of plastics are considered individually: Polyethylene (LDPE, LLDPE, HDPE), Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), Polypropylene (PP), Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), Polystyrene (PS and EPS), other plastics (polyurethane (PUR), polyamide (PA), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polycarbonate (PC), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), polyoxymethylene (POM), polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), styrene acrylonitrile (SAN), fluoropolymers, and bioplastics).
Chapter 2 considers 23 countries individually: Demand, revenues, production and trade of plastics. Total production and trade volumes are broken down by type of plastic. The development of total demand is reported for each type of plastic and application.
Chapter 3 provides useful company profiles of the most important European manufacturers of plastics, clearly structured by contact details, revenues, profit, product range, production sites and brief profile. Detailed profiles are provided by 114 manufacturers.

About Ceresana
As one of the world’s leading market research institutes, Ceresana specializes in the chemicals, plastics, packaging and industrial goods sectors, with a focus on bioeconomy and automotive / mobility. Since 2002, companies have benefited from high-quality industry analyses and forecasts. Over 200 market studies provide more than 10,000 clients around the world with the knowledge base for sustainable success.