Study #: 3786 | Published: 12/2019 | Pages: 154 | Individual User License: US$ 5,300

Demand for retail bags in the US is forecast to grow 4.7% per year to $4.2 billion in 2023, with increasing regulation of single-use products leading to significant changes in industry composition and outlook:

  • Growth in market value will come almost entirely from a shift in the product mix toward higher priced bags that meet regulatory requirements.
  • The number of bags used will stagnate at about 106.5 billion, with growth in the foodservice market offsetting declines in other retail sectors.
  • Strong growth in paper and heavier gauge reusable plastic bags will somewhat offset losses in the single-use HDPE t-shirt bag segment.

Dramatic Increase in Retail Bag Regulation Causing Uncertainty & Debate

Over the past decade, nearly 500 cities in the US (and eight states) have passed regulations related to retail bags, most of them banning single-use plastic bags and some also placing fees on paper bags. However, the definition of a reusable bag continues to be up for debate, making it difficult for manufacturers to plan future capacity requirements.

In addition, there is growing concern that regulations banning single-use plastic bags but not including a paper fee are too simplistic and will not achieve a significant reduction in disposable bags or the desired improved environmental outcome.

Plastic Is Here to Stay, for Now

While the ubiquitous HDPE t-shirt bags have been the main target of regulatory efforts, plastic is also used in the reusable bags that meet new regulations:

  • Over the past decade, reusable polypropylene bags have seen rapid growth, especially in the grocery market.
  • Fast growth is also expected for reusable polyethylene bags made in gauges over 2.25 mil, the gauge most commonly specified in regulations.

Strong Paper Demand: Not Enough Capacity & Result in Higher Material Use

Bans on plastic bags are causing a sharp increase in demand for paper retail bags, especially where regulations have not included paper bag fees. Paper is ideal in foodservice applications, where it is seeing growth from robust restaurant carryout sales.


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Table of Contents

1. Executive Summary

2. Factors Impacting Retail Bag Usage

Retail Bags Scope & Definition

Retail Sales Trends & the Impact of E-Commerce

Consumer Attitudes

Consumer Attitudes on Sustainable Packaging

Consumer Attitudes About Recycling & Environmental Responsibility

Consumer Attitudes on Recycling Packaging & Bags

Re-Use of Bags for Non-Shopping Purposes

Sustainability Options

Strategies for Achieving Sustainability

Recycling & Recycled Content

Composting/Biodegradability

Bag Reusability

The Litter Problem

Regulatory Impact

Summary & Future Direction

Bans

Taxes & Fees

Preemptions

State Trends

Local Trends

Retailer Trends

3. Supply & Demand Overview

Key Findings

Demand Trends & Forecast

Single-Use vs. Reusable Bags

Single-Use Bags

Reusable Bags

Markets

Demand by Market

Grocery Stores

Foodservice

Other Retail Markets

Demand by Material (Plastic, Paper, Natural Fabric)

Production & Foreign Trade

4. Plastic Bags

Key Findings

Demand Trends & Forecast

Supply & Demand

Demand by Market

Resins

Demand by Resin

Polyethylene (HDPE, LDPE, LLDPE, Co-Extruded)

Other (PP, rPET, Synthetic Fabrics, Bioplastics)

Polyethylene Bag Demand by Gauge

Leading Suppliers

5. Paper Bags

Key Findings

Demand Trends & Forecast

Supply & Demand

Demand by Market

Leading Suppliers

6. Reusable Bags

Key Findings

Demand Trends & Forecast

Polypropylene (Woven & Nonwoven)

Polyethylene

Other Plastics (rPET, Nylon, Polyester)

Natural Fabrics (Cotton, Jute, Linen, & Hemp)

7. Competitive Analysis

Industry Composition

Market Share

Mergers & Acquisitions

New Product Development

Marketing & Distribution

List of Industry Participants

8. Appendix

Scope

Definitions

Abbreviations

Freedonia Methodology

Study-Specific Methodology

Sources

Associations & Agencies

Related Studies & Reports

Macroeconomic Assumptions

Economic Environment

Demographics

Consumer Spending


List of Tables

2. Factors Impacting Retail Bag Usage

Table 2-1 | Packaging Features: Consumer Opinions on Sustainable Packaging by Gender & Age Group, 2018 (percent of respondents)

Table 2-2 | Consumer Insights: Attitudes on Recycling & Environmental Responsibility by Gender, 2018 (percent of respondents & index)

Table 2-3 | Consumer Insights: Attitudes on Recycling & Sustainable Packaging by Gender & Age Group, 2018 (percent of respondents)

Table 2-4 | State Bag Regulations by Year Implemented & Type

3. Supply & Demand Overview

Table 3-1 | Retail Bag Demand: Single-Use & Reusable, 2008 - 2028 (million dollars & million units)

Table 3-2 | Retail Bag Demand by Market, 2008 - 2028 (million dollars & million units)

Table 3-3 | Grocery Store Bag Demand by Type, 2008 - 2028 (million dollars & million units)

Table 3-4 | Foodservice Bag Demand by Type, 2008 - 2028 (million dollars & million units)

Table 3-5 | Demand for Retail Bags in Other Markets by Type, 2008 - 2028 (million dollars & million units)

Table 3-6 | Retail Bag Demand by Material, 2008 - 2028 (million dollars & million units)

Table 3-7 | Retail Bag Supply & Demand, 2008 - 2028 (million dollars)

4. Plastic Bags

Table 4-1 | Plastic Retail Bag Demand by Single-Use vs. Reusable, 2008 - 2028 (million dollars)

Table 4-2 | Plastic Retail Bag Supply & Demand, 2008 - 2028 (million dollars)

Table 4-3 | Plastic Retail Bag Demand by Market, 2008 - 2028 (million dollars & million units)

Table 4-4 | Plastic Retail Bag Demand by Resin, 2008 - 2028 (million dollars & million units)

Table 4-5 | Polyethylene Retail Bag Demand by Resin, 2008 - 2028 (million dollars & million units)

Table 4-6 | Other Plastic Retail Bag Demand by Resin, 2008 - 2028 (million dollars & million units)

Table 4-7 | Polyethylene Retail Bag Demand by Gauge, 2008 - 2028 (million bags)

5. Paper Bags

Table 5-1 | Paper Retail Bag Demand by Market, 2008 - 2028 (million dollars & million units)

Table 5-2 | Paper Retail Bag Supply & Demand, 2008 - 2028 (million dollars)

6. Reusable Bags

Table 6-1 | Reusable Retail Bag Demand by Material, 2008 - 2028 (million dollars & billion bags)

7. Competitive Analysis

Table 7-1 | Selected Mergers & Acquisitions

Table 7-2 | Selected Retail Bag Industry Participants

8. Appendix

Table 8-1 | Relevant Industry Codes

Table 8-2 | Relevant HS Codes

Table 8-3 | Abbreviations & Acronyms Used in Study

Table 8-4 | Macroeconomic Indicators, 2008 - 2028 (billion 2012 dollars & billion dollars)

Table 8-5 | Population & Households, 2008 - 2028 (million persons)

Table 8-6 | Personal Consumption Expenditures, 2008 - 2028 (billion dollars & billion 2012 dollars)


List of Figures

1. Executive Summary

Figure 1-1 | Key Trends in the US Retail Bag Market

2. Factors Impacting Retail Bag Usage

Figure 2-1 | Retail Bags Scope & Product Examples

Figure 2-2 | Single-Use Plastic Bag Bans in Cities with Populations Greater Than 100,000 by Gauge, 2010 - 2021 (number of cities)

Figure 2-3 | Bag Taxes & Fees in Cities with Populations Greater Than 100,000 by Material, 2010 - 2020 (number of cities)

Figure 2-4 | Ban Preemptions in States, 2015 - 2020 (number of states)

Figure 2-5 | Retail Bag Regulations by State, 2019

Figure 2-6 | Municipalities Enacting Bans by State

3. Supply & Demand Overview

Figure 3-1 | Retail Bags Supply & Demand Overview

Figure 3-2 | Retail Bag Demand Share: Single-Use vs. Reusable, 2008 - 2023 (million dollars)

Figure 3-3 | Retail Bag Demand Share by Market, 2008 - 2023 (million dollars)

Figure 3-4 | Grocery Store Retail Bags: Product Examples

Figure 3-5 | Foodservice Retail Bags: Product Examples

Figure 3-6 | Other Retail Bags: Product Examples

4. Plastic Bags

Figure 4-1 | Plastic Retail Bags: Key Trends

Figure 4-2 | Plastic Bags: Product Examples

Figure 4-3 | Plastic Bag Demand Share: Single-Use vs. Reusable, 2008 - 2023 (million dollars)

Figure 4-4 | Plastic Retail Bag Demand Share by Market, 2008 - 2023 (million dollars)

Figure 4-5 | Statewide Bans on Polyethylene Bags by Gauge, 2018

Figure 4-6 | Plastic Bag Market Share by Company, 2018 (billion dollars)

5. Paper Bags

Figure 5-1 | Paper Retail Bags: Key Trends

Figure 5-2 | Paper Bags: Product Examples

Figure 5-3 | Single-Use Paper Bag Fees or Taxes in Cities with Populations Greater Than 100,000, 2010 - 2019 (number of cities)

Figure 5-4 | Paper Bag Market Share by Company, 2018 (billion dollars)

6. Reusable Bags

Figure 6-1 | Reusable Retail Bags: Key Trends

Figure 6-2 | Reusable Polypropylene Bags: Woven vs. Nonwoven

Figure 6-3 | Reusable Polyethylene Bag Examples

Figure 6-4 | Other Reusable Retail Plastic Bag Examples: rPET & Nylon

Figure 6-5 | Natural Fabric Reusable Retail Bag Examples: Cotton & Hemp

7. Competitive Analysis

Figure 7-1 | Retail Bag Market Share by Company, 2018 (billion dollars)

Figure 7-2 | Retail Bag Market: Leading Supplier

Figure 7-3 | Retail Bag Market: Co-Second Leading Supplier

Figure 7-4 | Retail Bag Market: Co-Second Leading Supplier

Figure 7-5 | Retail Bag Market: Co-Second Leading Supplier

Figure 7-6 | Retail Bag Market: Co-Second Leading Supplier

8. Appendix

Figure 8-1 | Retail Bags

Figure 8-2 | Annual Growth in Real GDP, 2000 - 2018, Compared to 1980 - 2005 Average (percent)

Figure 8-3 | Annual Population Growth, 2003 - 2018 (percent)


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