While the recent few years of global slowdown has had some impact on the Asian packaging industry, volume growth has continued to be higher than other regional markets and opportunities for profitable growth exist. Which markets? What competitors? What market growth rates?
Based on industry interviews conducted with leading packaging converters and substrate suppliers throughout Central & East Asia and South East Asia & Oceania, the Asia-Pacific region packaging market continues to enjoy strong growth. The volume is expected to rise by a CAGR of ~5% over the 2014-2018 periods.
Paper and Board Packs will register a CAGR of ~4% between 2014 and 2018. Demand for tobacco and tobacco related products are increasing due to rising levels of Smoking / Smoker. China will remain the largest paper and board packaging market while Indonesia will register the highest CAGR of 4.7% to 2018. China and India will register the next fastest growth rates, growing at CAGRs of 4.5% and 4.3% respectively. Vietnam also experience increasing trend. The tobacco & tobacco products, and soft-drinks markets together accounted for more than 80% of the paper and board market in 2014. Tobacco & Paper packs in the soft-drinks market are predicted to continue to drive growth in the next 5 years.
Flexible packaging is anticipated to experience strong growth reaching a total of 682 billion packs in 2018. China continues to be the main consumer of flexible packaging throughout 2014-18, while India will register the highest CAGR of ~8% in the same period. Food, specifically bakery and cereals products, will be the dominant market by use. Demand from the household sector will also increase due to greater requests from household paper products. Domestic growth in the Indian flexible packaging industry is stimulated by rising international demand for Indian-made flexible packaging and packed final goods due to its low manufacturing cost base.
Rigid Plastics are expected to reach 370 billion units by 2018, with accelerated growth across food and soft drinks mainly responsible. China is the main user of rigid plastics and is forecast to reach 206 billion units in 2018. Soft drinks, dairy food, and bakery and cereals within the food market will drive the growth of rigid plastics packaging.
Rigid Metal Packaging demand is largely driven by growth in the soft-drinks market and will continue to increase. The increasing competition from other materials has limited the need for rigid metal packaging. Of the Asia-Pacific countries, China will remain the largest consumer, accounting for a 39% share in 2015. India will register the highest growth with a CAGR of 13.4%.
The future is not entirely unknown. By closely monitoring local, regional and global developments in business, industry and the environment while tracking consumer attitudes and sentiment through social media, it is possible to anticipate emerging issues for packaging, if possible get ahead of them.
The most prepared companies have a structures and formal process in place for collecting and processing information and insights. Behind every packaging trend is an impetus that sparked it— whether it is an advancement in technology, a new law, a more holistic approach to design or a greater interest in preserving the environment.
The challenge for companies and packaging manufacturers is not only in adapting to trends once they are established, but in anticipating and inspiring their creation through observation and visionary thinking, enabling packaging to play an ever-important role in our modern lives.