Global Plastic Caps & Closures

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Caps and Closures

This study analyzes the global market for plastic caps and closures. The main categories of plastic closures include:

  • threaded closures
    • standard threaded closures (also known as screw caps);
    • pressurized
    • vacuum
  • unthreaded closures
    • lids
    • overcaps
    • aerosol closures
    • synthetic cork
  • dispensing closures
  • child-resistant closures

A significant degree of overlap exists among product categories. For example, some trigger dispensers are outfitted with child-resistant features. For purposes of this report, a closure is categorized by the primary function of the closure. In the example here, the closure would be categorized as a child-resistant closure.

Excluded from the scope of this study are:

  • caps and closures that are an integral part of the container (e.g., aerosol can valve assemblies)
  • home canning and bottling closures
  • closures for industrial bulk containers
  • flexible closures such as twist ties or foil lidding
  • caps and closures used in nonpackaging applications (e.g., valve covers, distributor caps, pen caps, food storage containers lids, liquor decanter closures)

Markets for these products include:

  • beverages
    • bottled water (still and sparkling)
    • carbonated soft drinks
    • milk (dairy milk)
    • other beverages (such as wine, beer, fruit drinks, ready-to-drink coffee and tea, and sports drinks, liquor and spirits, alternative milk products)
  • food
  • pharmaceuticals
  • other markets (e.g., personal care products, household cleaning products, automotive chemicals, paints and coatings, durable goods such as art supplies)

Historical data (2009, 2014, and 2019) and forecasts for 2024 and 2029 are presented for caps and closures demand in units and current US dollars (including inflation) by product and market on a country-by-country and region-by-region basis. The terms “shipments”, “production”, and “output” are used interchangeably in the study, as are the terms “demand”, “sales”, and “market”, which are defined as domestic shipments, plus imports, minus exports.

Caps and Closures

Demand by Region

Global demand for plastic caps and closures is projected to increase 2.3% per year to just over 1.9 trillion units, valued at $55 billion in 2024:

  • Over half of these increases will be in the Asia/Pacific region, already the largest regional market. Advances in the region will be fueled by healthy growth in food and beverage output, the main drivers of demand for plastic caps and closures.
  • Above average increases are also anticipated in the Africa/Mideast region, though growth in that region will come from a much smaller base.
  • Western Europe is projected to register growth well below the global average. Nonetheless, opportunities will exist, especially for value-added products such as tamper-evident and dispensing products.
  • Growth in North America will be boosted by increases in the dominant US market, where bottled water and pharmaceuticals are expected to see healthy gains through 2024.
  • Demand in the East European market will decelerate from the pace seen during the 2014-2019 period, as economic growth of countries in the region slows.
Caps and Closures

Competitive Products

Plastic caps and closures primarily face competition from caps and closures made from other materials – metal, rubber, and cork:

  • Metal caps and closures are commonly used on glass bottles, limiting plastic closure demand. However, plastic closures are increasingly being used with glass containers, most notably with upmarket bottled water.
  • Cork closures are widely used in wine packaging; however, “cork taint” and cork’s relatively high cost has limited their use, particularly in value wines, allowing for the penetration of synthetic corks into the wine market. Additionally, the growing popularity of boxed wine has boosted demand for plastic dispensing closures.
  • Rubber closures are primarily used in pharmaceutical applications where their resealability is important, such as pharmaceutical vials. However, plastic does face competition from rubber in closures for plastic containers.

Plastic caps and closures also face competition from packaging that does not utilize closures. For example, the growing popularity of metal cans in some beverage container markets, such as the craft beer, packaged water, and prepared cocktails markets, will limit demand for all closures, including plastic closures.

Caps and Closures

International Trade

Trade activity in plastic caps and closures does not account for a large share of the overall market. However, there is more trade of these products than of most other forms of packaging. One major reason for this is that plastic caps and closures are much smaller than other packaging products, making them more efficient to transport than larger or heavier packaging materials, such as empty bottles, cans, jars, or other containers. In addition, opening sizes on containers such as bottled water and soft drink bottles tend to be standardized, while container sizes are often not.

In regional terms, Western Europe and the Asia/Pacific region are net exporters, while the remaining regions are net importers. However, a significant share of trade activity is intraregional:

  • In North America, all three countries are net importers, but most trade by those countries is within the region.
  • Western Europe is a net exporting region largely because Germany and Italy are significant net exporters. However, much of those countries’ trade is with European neighbors such as France and the UK.

Overall, China has become the world’s largest net exporter. A considerable share of its export volume is bound for other Asian countries, but the US has also become a more significant destination for Chinese exports.

Demand by Market

Global demand for plastic caps and closures is projected to increase 2.3% annually to 1.9 trillion units in 2024. While beverages will remain by far the largest market, similar gains are expected in pharmaceuticals through the forecast period.

Product manufacturers will continue to seek packaging that adds value to their offerings. As a result, plastic caps and closures in some markets have trended toward the adoption of more expensive, functional closures, such as child-resistant, tamper-evident, and dispensing types. However, in higher-volume beverage applications, such as bottled water and CSDs, simpler commodity closures have retained a dominant market position.

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