Plastics continue to dominate the caps & closures market

The U.S. demand for caps and closures is projected to advance 4.0% per year to $11.1 billion in 2018, with unit demand exceeding 300 billion, according to a new study from The Freedonia Group. Gains will be driven by an acceleration in container unit growth relative to that of the 2008-2013 period, the continued popularity of single serving containers, and greater use of costlier product types, such as dispensing and child-resistant closures (CRCs). Preventing faster growth will be the maturity of several large beverage applications and competition from closureless packaging options such as aluminum cans, most stand-up pouches, blister packs and peelable lidding. 

Beverages are the single largest cap and closure market, representing 33% of total value demand and 54% of total units in 2013. Pharmaceuticals, the second largest cap and closure market in value terms, will see the fastest growth through 2018, aided by the expansion of older segments of the population and the need to comply with government regulations and industry standards.

Plastic caps and closures, which comprised 81% of unit demand in 2013, will post unit and value advances in line with the overall averages through 2018. According to analyst Esther Palevsky: "This is a reflection of the significance of plastic containers in numerous markets and the growing prevalence of plastic closures on other container types." The outlook for plastic closures will be constrained by the already high penetration of plastic containers in most markets and a lack of new large volume applications. Dispensing closures will enjoy the fastest growth based on convenience and functionality.

Metal cap and closure demand is expected to rise 2.4% per year through 2018. Despite ongoing losses due to inroads by plastic closures and the resurgence of aluminum cans in the beer market, units will increase modestly based on greater use of roll-on closures with wine and opportunities for screw and lug closures with ready-to-drink beverages such as iced tea and coffee. In addition, demand for metal closures such as paint can lids will benefit from rising paint sales spurred by a rebound in the construction market following low levels during the 2008-2013 period.

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