Worldwide demand for stretch and shrink packaging is expected to grow hugely in the immediate future, with some experts predicting it will reach a massive $18.46 billion by the year 2024.

A new study by American-based consulting and market research company, Grand View Research Inc, says that the growing demand for the lightweight packaging material will be mainly driven by improvements in its overall properties, including better printability, more robust sealing capabilities and easier application.

One of the main reasons for an increase in demand for this particular type of industrial packaging is the fact it has a relatively low weight, therefore decreasing a product’s overall transportation costs, giving an incremental increase in profits for firms.

In recent years, new and improved types of shrink and stretch films have been introduced, including LLDPE, EPE and HDPE, which allow companies to take advantage of their superior pallet-holding ability, among other advantages.

In addition, the introduction of biodegradable films by leading manufacturers has allowed companies to address the issues of more environmentally friendly disposal of their packaging, giving them an advantage over less ‘green’ alternatives.

Of these new materials, LLDPE is expected to see the highest increase in use, being predicted to show a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 5% between 2016 and 2024. This is due in part to the material’s increased resistance to damage during transportation, letting companies pack and transport goods with the confidence that they will arrive at their destination undamaged.

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Film hoods are also likely to see substantial growth, with a predicted CAGR of over 5% in the next eight years. This will be driven, says the Grand View Research report, by a higher demand for hoods in consumer goods and industrial packaging.

Leading the demand in the stretch and shrink industrial packaging sector are sleeves and labels, which accounted for more than 40% of the market in 2015. These types of packaging are expected to see good growth because of a bigger demand for sleeves and labels in the drinks industry.

There have been improvements here, too, with new ways of making it easier to get the labels onto bottles, meaning big-name drinks manufacturers are likely to see the benefits of using this type of labelling in the near future.

The food and drinks industry accounts for around 40% of the total revenue in the stretch and shrink market – a figure which is kept buoyant by the need to keep packaging weights down while maintaining strength and hygiene, and therefore increasing profits. The fact that such packaging is easy to sterilise is another factor in its popularity and expected growth in the future.

Although the report focuses on the overall worldwide market, it also points out other, more localised trends. In the Asia Pacific region, the industry is currently valued at more than $4 billion, due in part to a rapid growth in the region’s food and beverage industries, as well as a range of consumer goods.

In developing countries such as China and India, stretch and shrink packaging is predicted to show healthy growth, due to the demand for lightweight packaging of industrial goods.

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