The GCC Rigid Plastic Packaging Market was valued at USD 5.5 billion in 2020, and it is expected to reach USD 7.11 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 4.4% during the forecast period. The rise in real incomes, high rate of urbanization, and relatively young demographics are the major contributors to the growth of the packaging industry in the region. Countries, like Qatar, had GDP per capita of more than USD 69,600, in 2019. The GCC has one of the highest GDP per capita, hence, the increased consumer disposable income to spend on e-commerce retail, luxury retail, and retail in stores.
The higher consumption of consumer products has led to the growth of the packaging industry to cater to the needs of both the consumers and retailers. The growth of retail is expected to aid the growth of packaging needs in the food and beverage segment. This is because the region is one of the highest consumers of pre-packed food. As per data released by the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority (SAGIA), the country is expected to experience a USD 59 billion worth of investment in its food industry by the end of 2021.?
Rigid Plastics are expected to be among the highest consumed packaging types during the forecast period. This is further confirmed by the investments undertaken by Almarai to meet the growing need for PET bottles in the region. As the leader in the juice market, Almarai installed two new Sidel PET complete lines, each one handling 54,000 bottles/hr, in its Al Kharj central processing plant (CPP).?
The spread of COVID-19 has impacted the rigid plastic packaging market in GCC in various ways. It has negatively impacted the small and medium level firms that play a crucial role in the industry. It is anticipated that the pandemic will boost the food and pharmaceutical rigid plastic packaging industry in the region. Hence, the packaging of non - perishable items like rice, pasta, and instant noodles, is expected to generate massive demand during the crises. Major players in the packaged food industry, like Majid Al Futtaim, are already taking steps to meet the demand and alleviate concerns of the local people in the region.
GCC Rigid Plastic Packaging Market Trends
Beverage Segment is Expected to Witness Significant Growth
The region has some of the highest rates of bottled water consumption in the globe. The United Arab Emirates is among the leading countries in the region in terms of bottled water. According to recent research undertaken by academics, the country has experienced a 36% increase in its bottled water consumption in the past 5 years with per capita consumption reaching 34 gallons per person. This continuous rise is expected to generate substantial opportunities for plastic and glass bottling companies operating in the region.?
In addition, consumers are more conscious of the need for healthier diets. The increased demand for bottled water, in turn, is expected to augment the growth of the bottled water packaging market in the GCC region. According to the part of the survey conducted by Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI), a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development only 30% oh household used tap water for drinking.
Further, Saudi Arabia is one of the highest consumers of soft drinks, especially sugary drinks, which is also a significant consumer for glass bottles. Due to the growing obesity concerns among the population, due to high soft drink consumption, the government imposed an increased tax on beverages, which resulted in over 67% increase in soft drink prices.?
Post-implementation of these taxes, the American Society for Nutrition, in its recent article, mentioned that the volume per capita consumption of soda and energy drinks reduced by 41% and 58% in 2018 and 2016, respectively. This is expected to limit the demand for glass bottles used for these products to an extent in the country. As a result there is a significant demand for PET bottles for the packaging of water and other soft drinks. For instance, Almarai developed its business through strategic investments. It is the largest producer and distributor of soft drinks in the Middle East. As the leader in the juice market, Almarai installed two new Sidel PET complete lines, each one handling 54,000 bottles/hr, in its Al Kharj central processing plant (CPP).?
Saudi Arabia is Expected to Hold Major Share
The low crude oil price situation in the global market realized the need for a stronger non-oil sector. To strengthen the country’s non-oil sector, Saudi Arabia has been implementing several initiatives and regulatory reforms, such as National Industrial Development and Logistics Program (NIDLP), Vision 2030, etc., which are expected to increase the industrial production in the region. Additionally, the strong growth in the non-oil sector revenues and a considerable recovery in the Saudi Arabian economy, owing to the reviving crude oil prices, are expected to set a positive outlook for the packaging industry in the country.?
As the largest economy in the region, by both GDP and population, Saudi Arabia has the largest pharmaceuticals market in the GCC region. Moreover, the development of four economic cities is also expected to create new opportunities for the establishment of pharmaceutical processing and packaging units in this region. For instance, the King Abdullah industrial city has been mooted for the growth of the pharma sector. The companies, like Pfizer (Saudi), invested in developing pharma manufacturing and packaging facility in the area.?
With the increasing costs of imported pharmaceuticals, the government is motivating local packaging and manufacturing activities. In addition, the easing of trade sanctions is expected to open new avenues for these players to set up their packaging and processing plants. Boehringer’s recent market activity can be considered as a significant example, as the company collaborated with Cigalah and Tabuk (local companies) for secondary packaging of its products, in compliance with local regulatory standards.?
Under the country’s long-term development plan, Vision 2030, and its shorter-term goals set out in the National Transformation Program (NTP), which runs through 2020, a significant shift toward locally produced and packaged medicines and drugs is set to take place. Currently, only 30% of the pharmaceutical products are manufactured locally.?
GCC Rigid Plastic Packaging Industry Overview
The GCC rigid plastic packaging market is competitive owing to the presence of several major players. In terms of market share, few of the major players currently dominate the market. These companies are leveraging strategic collaborative initiatives to increase their market share and increase their profitability. However, as the demand for alternative packaging increases due to the new implied taxes on beverages, it is expected to provide opportunities to new players in the market.
In August 2019, SABIC acquired a 24.99% stake in the Swiss chemical player, Clariant, from the ’activist shareholder’, White Tale, as a venture that would strengthen its specialties vertical.?
In July 2019, in Dubai, Nestle’s brand Valvert launched a bottle made entirely from recycled PET (rPET). Valvert secured a dependable supply of the high-quality food-grade rPET that is required for bottled water.
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