U.S. demand for specialty films is forecast to advance 5.2 percent per year to $8.0 billion in 2017. Gains will be driven by the increasing need for high-performance plastic films which offer barrier properties, mechanical strength, and chemical resistance in packaging applications. Increasing use in small, but high-growth market areas, such as photovoltaic modules and biodegradable packaging, will also bolster advances, as will a rebound in the construction market. These and other trends are presented in Specialty Films, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.
Packaging is the largest market for specialty films, accounting for two-thirds of overall demand. Of the specialty film used in packaging, barrier films have the largest share with over 90 percent of the market. Growth in barrier film demand will be driven by the rapid rise in the use of vacuum packaging, oxygen scavenging, and low-oxygen case-ready technologies in meat packaging, as these technologies utilize high-barrier films to maintain an optimum atmosphere inside the package. Demand for barrier films will also benefit from the increased use of specialty barrier films in pharmaceutical blister packaging applications.
A rebound in building construction will benefit safety and security films, as double-digit annual growth in both residential and nonresidential building spending will boost demand for films used in windows for safety and security as well as light control.
The most rapid growth in specialty films, albeit from a small base, will occur in biodegradable and water soluble films, which will benefit as the technologies improve and new applications are developed. Demand for biodegradable films, which are used to produce compostable packaging and bags for organic waste, will benefit from environmental concerns and the increased commercialization of bio-based polymers. Water soluble film demand will receive a boost from the introduction of pharmaceutical and health products in dissolvable thin film form as well as the introduction of edible, water soluble food packaging.
Specialty Films (published 05/2013, 269 pages) is available for $4,900 from The Freedonia Group, Inc., 767 Beta Drive, Cleveland, OH 44143-2326. For further details, please contact Corinne Gangloff by phone 440-684-9600, fax 440-646-0484 or e-mail [email protected]. Information may also be obtained through www.freedoniagroup.com.