Plummeting manufacturing activity during the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative effect on the $40 billion global pressure sensitive (PSA) tape industry in 2020, with demand in square meters shrinking 4.4% from 2019 levels. However, some markets avoided the significant declines seen in others, such as motor vehicle production, building construction, and the consumer/office market. For example:
- The growing replacement of physical fasteners by PSA tapes worldwide, particularly in low-income regions where the use of tape is still relatively low, limited the declines in demand.
- Growth in some manufacturing applications was able to partially offset losses experienced in other industries. For instance, PSA demand in transportation equipment production fell at a double-digit pace, while demand in electronics production grew around 6%.
A new Freedonia Group analysis projects that the return of widespread manufacturing activity in the latter half of 2020 and 2021 will result in a healthy rebound in PSA tape demand in 2021, with the transportation equipment market seeing the strongest growth. Below, we highlight some of the key findings from the study.
Global Demand for Pressure Sensitive Tapes to Near 60 Million Square Meters in 2025
Through 2025, global demand for pressure sensitive tapes is forecast to increase 3.8% per year to 58.4 million square meters, boosted by:
- post-pandemic growth in global manufacturing and an ongoing shift away from mechanical fasteners toward tape in the manufacture of many durable goods, most notably transportation equipment and electronics
- increasing building construction activity
- rising personal incomes in low-income countries
The pressure sensitive tape industry can be segmented into two broad categories:
- value-added technical, or specialty, tapes (e.g., double-sided, medical)
- commodity tapes (e.g., carton sealing, masking, transparent)
The latter types dominate the global market on a volume basis, although the former’s share of the market in value terms is much higher due to their significantly higher prices.
Carton Sealing Tape Will Remain Widely Used, But Faces Competition from Alternatives
Carton sealing tape was the leading product type in 2020, accounting for nearly two-thirds of global demand. Rising manufacturing output will support demand in lower-income countries, as will the relatively low cost of carton sealing tape compared to other options.
However, growth in high-income countries will be more restrained. In these areas, e-commerce applications play a larger role in shipping:
- Water-activated tape is a greater competitor for carton sealing in higher income nations, where its higher cost compared to PSA tape poses less of a barrier to use, especially in e-commerce applications where its strength and ability to provide tamper evidence are highly valued.
- Some e-commerce retailers are shifting away from corrugated boxes altogether and instead favoring flexible packaging, which does not use carton sealing tape.
Providers of carton sealing tape can focus on remaining cost competitive while increasing strength and adhesive to better maintain their share of the market.
Higher Performance Tape Will Benefit From Increasing Manufacturing & Construction Activity
Unlike packaging and shipping applications, the use of PSA tapes for bonding, joining, and sealing in manufacturing and building construction is not fully mature, particularly in less-industrialized regions. As a result, double-sided and adhesive transfer tapes continue to penetrate these less-industrialized markets, with their use supported by:
- their lighter weight compared to conventional physical fasteners
- the clean and instantaneous bond provided by PSA tapes
- their ability to dampen noise and vibration
However, maturity in the North American and West European markets will limit greater market share gains for double-sided and adhesive transfer tapes.
The Asia/Pacific Region, Driven by China, Will Remain the World’s Largest Market
Through 2025, the PSA tape market in the Asia/Pacific region is expected to post above average growth and will account for over 60% of global demand increases.
The dominant Chinese market, which represents approximately one-third of global demand, will drive growth. However, the fastest gains will be seen in the less-developed markets in India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam, where there are more opportunities for PSA tape to further penetrate manufacturing and construction applications. In addition, these countries represent targets for manufacturers that wish to operate in outside of China.
Want to Learn More?
Global Pressure Sensitive Tapes is now available from the Freedonia Group.
About the Author:
Peter Kusnic is a Content Writer with The Freedonia Group, where he researches and writes studies focused on an array of industries.