High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is one of the most in-demand resins because it is used for a wide range of product including food and beverage containers and packaging, water pipes, building and construction products, household goods and much more. It can be blow-molded, injection molded and even thermoformed and extruded.
“In 2014, a worldwide turnover of $61.8 billion U.S. was achieved with HDPE,” said Oliver Kutsch, manager of the market research institute Ceresana. “We expect an average sales growth of 4.2% per annum so that around $85.8 billion U.S. will be achieved until 2022.”
The Asia Pacific region is by far the largest consumer of this important kind of plastic, reported Ceresana. Within the last eight years, it has increased its world market share from 33% to 44%, and the future of this region is one of strong growth.
HDPE is most frequently used for the production of films, primarily for packaging, bags and sacks. In 2014, around 26% of the total consumption fell within the field of rigid packaging (e.g. bottles, canisters and covers), according to Ceresana. Another significant application area is products for the building and construction industry. In North America HDPE is primarily processed using the blow molding and injection molding technology.
Including swing plants, which can produce HDPE as well as LLDPD (linear low-density polyethylene), the global production capacity for HDPE accounted for around 57.5 million tons in 2014. In the future, numerous HDPE factories are being planned. While there are still a few smaller suppliers, 15 of the largest companies account for 57% of the global capacity. However, Ceresana notes that this market concentration is expected to further increase over the next few years.
Ceresana projects that North America HDPE producers will increase net exports over the next eight years by an estimated one million tons or more.
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