Materials Science

Growth of petroleum-based plastics undaunted

By Grand View Research (GVR)

The plastics market continues to show healthy growth, despite environmental concerns about virgin plastics, says Grand View Resear

The plastics market continues to show healthy growth, despite environmental concerns about virgin plastics, says Grand View Research, a US-based market research and consulting company.
Plastics, which are made of long-chain polymers, have high molecular weights and typically comprise over 10,000 atoms. Derived from oil or petroleum, plastics are usually categorized as semi-synthetic or synthetic polymers.
GVR Sept 2019 Table 1.png

Plastics are further categorized as thermoplastic polymers and thermosetting polymers. Thermosetting polymers solidify into a permanent shape, have huge molecular weight, and are amorphous whereas thermoplastics can be remolded and heated again. The range of plastics available for various applications is wide and varied (Figure 1;
The petroleum-based plastics market is poised to rise to a valuation of $721.14 billion and is anticipated to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.0% by 2025, with the Asia Pacific region holding the major market share.1

Excluding China, Asia Pacific was the fastest-growing regional market for petroleum-based plastics in 2017. Increased trained workforce and fast industrialization is anticipated to boost the growth of the manufacturing segment in the region, which will boost these market demands. High economic growth, and subsequent increases in consumer spending, in developing countries such as Japan and India (along with Southeast Asian economies) are further driving the demand for consumer goods. Additionally, a well-established electronics and electrical manufacturing base in South Korea and Taiwan are estimated to boost the market growth in the region. On the flip side, India has a strong chemical industry base, which supported its production in the last few years.  

GVR Sept 2019 Figure 1.pngTherefore, the growing manufacturing ecosphere, coupled with rapid urbanization, increasing infrastructural activities, and growing economies are supporting the petroleum-based plastics markets in Asia Pacific countries such as India, Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam. They are observing a rapid Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth and offer lucrative opportunities for manufacturers.

The booming packaging industry, on account of high demand from consumers in developing countries, is playing a significant role in stirring up demand for plastics such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polyethylene (PE). The packaging industry is anticipated to be the leading application sector in the market over the next few years,1 accounting for more than 35% of total revenue by 2025.

In conclusion, the market for petroleum-based plastics continues to thrive – especially in the Asia Pacific, where growth is supported by expanding economies and a rising middle class. Elsewhere in the world, however, growth for petroleum-based materials might be expected to slow in the medium to long term future as the demand grows for more sustainable bioplastics and biopolymers produced from renewable biomass sources.

Bioplastics have a lower carbon footprint than synthetic materials used for the same applications. Consumer demand – particularly in western countries – is driving a movement to replace many synthetic materials with bio-based alternatives where it is possible to do so. As the world stage is set for a dramatic change in attitudes to plastics, there has never been a more important time for manufacturers to stay abreast of the forces impacting this dynamic industry.

1. Grand Review Research. Plastics Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Product, January 2019 (

Grand View Research, Inc. is a US-based market research and consulting company, registered in the State of California and headquartered in San Francisco. The company provides syndicated research reports, customized research reports and consulting services. For more information click here.