Freedonia Issues Study on Stretch and Shrink Film

CLEVELAND, OH | A new study from The Freedonia Group says demand for stretch and shrink film in the US is expected to grow 3.5% annually to $3.1 billion in 2019, driven by increasing sales of retail items, as well as increasing efficiencies in film manufacturing and layering.

According to Stretch & Shrink Film, rising use of stretch and shrink hoods and beverage and pallet unitization wraps and the increasing suitability of stretch and shrink films for a greater variety of applications will also boost demand.

Stretch film sales will grow 3.4% yearly to $1.9 billion through 2019, says the study, comprising over three-fifths of total stretch and shrink film demand. Overall, stretch films, which are used primarily in pallet unitization, will see growth stem from increased manufacturing activity and spending on consumer goods, as well as from rising improvements in machinery and advances in resin strength. The fastest growth is expected for stretch hoods in the storage and distribution market because of their efficiency in pallet wrapping applications.

Shrink film demand will increase 3.7%/LDPE, through 2019 to $1.2 billion. Overall growth will be stimulated by improvements in strength and increasing customizability of shrink packaging as the retail sector recovers from the weak performance of the past decade, the study notes. Heat shrink sleeves are increasingly used for packaging beverages and as bottle labels. Shrink film will maintain its share of the market in applications where clarity and other visual qualities are the overriding priority but will face much stiffer competition from stretch film in areas where high strength and containment properties are needed. Shrink pallet wraps will also post solid advances because of their suitability for use on irregularly shaped loads.

Freedonia reports that LLDPE is the leading resin used in stretch and shrink film, and it will post 3.7% annual growth through 2019 to $1.9 billion due to its continued cost-effectiveness and high strength in greatly varying conditions, making it ideal for stretch film. Demand for LDPE is expected to grow 2.8% annually to $680 million. Although LDPE will capture a significant portion of shrink film demand due to its amenability to heat shrinking and high clarity, it will lose ground to LLDPE in stretch film, says the study.

PVC will see below-average growth through 2019. While PVC’s oxygen permeability will help it maintain its position in the meat, poultry, and seafood segment, the report says concerns over the film’s potential health hazards, tendency to yellow when exposed to light, and brittleness will limit growth opportunities.

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