$7 Billion Explosion in Paper and Board Coatings

The global market for functional and barrier coatings for paper and board packaging is expected to reach over $7.1 billion by 2020, according to a new report.

Published by packaging industry researcher Smithers Pira, the report found that growth had been stimulated by increased demand for paper-based packaging materials.

Total demand is expected to increase from 2.4 million tonnes of material in 2014 to over 3.2 million tonnes by 2020, with the market value growing at five per cent annually from nearly $5.4 billion to over $7.1 billion over the period.

This will be particularly evident in the emerging markets of Africa, Asia and South/Central America, with unrest in the Middle East casting a cloud over otherwise good growth in this region as well, according to Smithers Pira.

Demand in North America will lose some market share to these regions, especially Asia, while Europe should maintain its position in the market over the review period.

“At a macro-economic level, urbanisation, population growth, ageing populations and the growth of the emerging economies are all exerting varying degrees of stimulus on the demand for coatings,” said Stephen Harrod, author of the report.

“Changes in retail infrastructure in the emerging regions are opening up new opportunities for packaging generally, and consequently for the coating industry.

In total, over 30 per cent of all paper-based packaging carries some form of functional or barrier coating, ranging from 100 per cent of liquid packaging board to just seven per cent of corrugated materials. This rises to more than 45 per cent of food packaging, with a third of beverage packs and a fifth of non-food materials carrying these coatings.

Consumer trends such as increasing demand for smaller pack sizes is providing a stimulus for the coatings market, as more and smaller packs present a greater surface area for coating than the fewer and larger packs they replace.

Extrusion polymers, which include polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyamide (Nylon) and recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PETr), show the best prospects and will absorb the lion’s share of the anticipated growth in this market, moving from a 61% share of 2014 volumes to some 63.5% of the projected 2020 market. This will be driven largely by solid growth in demand for liquid packaging board, coupled with strong growth in demand for these coatings from non-food applications, though from a low base.


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