Canadian Packaging

Why North America’s flexible packaging market will grow faster than Europe

By Canadian Packaging Staff   

General Flexibles flexible packaging markey study North American flexible packaging market Packaging trends in North America PCI Films Consulting Ltd.

PCI's report on the North American Flexible Packaging Market to 2018 is now available.

PCI‘s latest report on consumer flexible packaging markets in the USA, Canada and Mexico is now  available after updating its popular 2011 study –  The North American Flexible Packaging Market to 2018.

This comprehensive and authoritative report on North America’s flexible packaging market includes: Profiles of over 100 flexible packaging converters; Consumption trends in 20 end use applications plus formats and specifications; Analysis of production, trade and consumption by country; and Historic drivers and expert forecasts to 2018.

A synopsis of the report’s North American flexible packaging market and why it will grow faster than in Europe is provided here:

The North American and European flexible packaging markets at US$20.7 billion and US$16.4 billion, together account for approaching half of the global consumer flexible packaging market of around $76 billion in 2013. However, recent research by PCI shows that growth in North America at around four percent per year by value is currently twice as fast as that experienced in the last year in Europe.


Experts at PCI Films Consulting believe that this situation is likely to endure even while the annual spend per capita is much higher in North America, than in Europe. While demand in Eastern Europe continues to grow by over five percent per year. in value terms, underpinned by strong growth in Russia and Poland, growth in the more mature Western Europe is currently running at less than 1.5 percent per annum.

There are a number of reasons for the divergent growth prospects for North America and Europe:

  • While some West European countries are seeing some economic growth, especially Germany and the UK, many other economies, especially in the Eurozone are still suffering low or negative growth which is adversely impacting on employment and consumer spending.
  • In Eastern Europe, which currently accounts for less than 20 percent of Europe’s overall flexible packaging demand, a number of smaller national markets are either static or actually declining as they continue to face difficult economic problems. Per capita spend on flexible packaging in Eastern Europe is currently less than one-third of Western Europe’s.
  • Europe’s population growth rate of only 0.2 percent per annum compares with approaching one percent p.a. in North America, which provides the latter with a continuing inbuilt boost to food consumption which is again reflected in demand for flexible packaging. Populations in a number of large European countries, especially Germany and Russia are declining.
  • Lifestyle variations and differing consumer buying habits across Europe mean that some countries, such as Italy, spend less per capita on pre-packaged foods than Germany and the UK for example. In North America, especially in the US and Canada, incomes are generally higher than in Europe and consumer buying habits are more uniform.
  • More rapid growth in flexible packaging in North America also reflects the fact that flexible packaging formats, including the stand-up-pouch, are growing rapidly in new applications which have been previously the preserve of rigid formats. In the past North American consumers have been more conservative with regard to the adoption of new flexible packaging formats than their European counterparts and packers have often been reluctant to replace existing rigid filling capacity with new flexible packaging alternatives. However, this is now changing, as consumers recognize the lightweight portability and convenience particularly of single serve flexible formats with easy-open reclose features and also the environmental advantages of flexibles.
  • Evolving technical advances especially in the development of sophisticated barrier materials have seen flexible packaging becoming an increasingly attractive and viable alternative to rigid formats, which are now being adopted much more widely by North American packers.

PCI Films Consulting’s view is that flexible packaging demand will continue to grow more rapidly in North America than Europe, perhaps most importantly because of the much more favorable population demographics in North America and likely economic fundamentals, over the next couple of years.

PCI Films Consulting Ltd, part of the PCI group of companies, offers an extensive range of consulting services to those involved in the production and use of flexible packaging materials around the world.  The company produces dedicated quarterly business reports and in depth regional supply/demand studies for the polyester and polypropylene film and flexible packaging markets.  The company also provides specialist ad-hoc research and planning to the industry and its advisors. Company information is found at

Further details on the The North American Flexible Packaging Market to 2018 report, click HERE.


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