Freedonia’s Outlook for the Stretch & Shrink Film Market During COVID-19 Pandemic & Beyond

The US stretch and shrink film market, like the manufacturing sector overall, is seeing a major short-term impact from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, both in terms of sales and production. Market opportunities and challenges due to the pandemic include:

  • More than 60% of stretch and shrink film sales are for the storage, bundling, and transport of goods seeing heightened demand due to the pandemic, including hygiene products (e.g., toilet paper, paper towels, and wipes), medical devices, and drugs.
  • Stretch and shrink film is also widely used to package e-commerce orders, which are rising as a result of crisis-related self-isolation efforts, as well as grocery items, including meats, cheeses, dairy, bottled water, and frozen meals and vegetables.
  • Reduced manufacturing as a result of stay-at-home directives – which is shuttering production of products like motor vehicles that are not considered essential – and an associated drop in shipping activity will restrain demand for stretch and shrink film.
  • Meanwhile, reductions in construction activity will limit demand for specialized films used in building construction and landscaping.

However, despite these short-term disruptions, trends discussed in Freedonia’s Stretch & Shrink Film study still seem to hold, and we are not anticipating a significant change in our long-term outlook. Key market trends through 2024 include:

Continued downgauging by film producers will drive demand for multilayer films

Multilayer films are increasingly favored for their downgauging potential, as they require less material to achieve required strength. LLPDE-based multilayer stretch films for pallet unitization and bundling applications will offer the best opportunities due to increased demand for stronger, thinner films. Film manufacturers will continue to replace single- and three-layer film lines with five-layer lines to meet growing demand for these stronger film products.

Shrink labels will remain one of the fastest growing product types through 2024

Shrink labels appeal to users because they are scuff resistant, conform tightly to a variety of shapes, and can be printed using a range of techniques and inks. In addition, demand will be boosted by the development of new polyolefin-based shrink labels that can be more easily recycled along with PET bottles than PVC and PETG labels can.

Want to learn more?

See Stretch & Shrink Film, now available from The Freedonia Group. This study analyzes the US market for stretch and shrink films. Demand for stretch and shrink films is examined by product, market, and resin type. Historical data for 2009, 2014, and 2019 and forecasts for 2024 are presented in both pounds and dollars.