Global market for bioplastics expected to grow significantly

By Erin Voegele | January 05, 2012

Germany-based market research institute Ceresana Research recently announced it expects significant growth to characterize the bioplastics industry over the next few years. According to information released by the company, the global bioplastics sector is expected to reach revenues of more than $2.8 billion by 2018. This equates to an average annual growth rate of 17.8 percent.

Europe was the largest market for bioplastics in 2010, representing approximately 48 percent of demand for the product, followed by North America and Asia-Pacific. Ceresana said, however, it expects these demand dynamics to shift significantly over the next eight years. The organization forecasts that the Asia-Pacific and South American regions will vastly influence the bioplastics market during this time period. Ceresana said that the Asia-Pacific region will be characterized by an increase in demand for bioplastics. In fact, Ceresana projects that Asia-Pacific demand will be on par with European and North American demand by 2018. South America is also expected to see strong growth, primarily as a result of significant increases in Brazil’s production capacity.

There is also expected to be a shift in the characteristics of bioplastics when it comes to demand. While biodegradable bioplastics currently dominate the market, representing approximately 92 percent of demand, that is expected to change. Nonbiodegradable bioplastics are expected to represent more than 47 percent of demand in 2018.

The report compiled by Ceresana also addresses price and market trends. The group estimates that technical advances and capacity growth will significantly lower the price of bioplastics, making the material more competitive with petroleum-based plastics. The biobased material will also be suitable for more applications, further opening the market. Regarding sales, Ceresana said that manufacturers who produce plastic bags and sacks are expected to be among the most important future buyers of bioplastics. Additional customers will likely be those producing loose-fill, packaging and films. Those in the automotive and electronic industries are expected to step up the use of bioplastics, as are a variety of other industries.