COVID-19 update included
The content of this report will be updated with the latest scenarios based on the global COVID-19 Pandemic

The United Kingdom Packaging Market is expected to register a CAGR of 3% over the forecast period (2020 -2025). The packaging industry in the United Kingdom has been witnessing a significant growth, owing to the increasing manufacturing activities in the region, which is propelling the demand for packaging and labelling services in the area.

  • According to the Packaging Federation of the United Kingdom, the UK packaging manufacturing industry has an annual sales of GBP 11 billion. It employs more than 85,000 people that represent 3% of the United Kingdom’s manufacturing workforce. Also, it is a significant contributor to the UK GDP and a vital link in the broader packaging supply chain ?
  • Moreover, the growth of e-commerce sales, increasing demand from the food and beverage manufacturers for eco-friendly and recyclable packaging, increasing demand for personalization of products, and the growing industrial packaging are driving the growth of packaging market in the United Kingdom. According to the Office of the UK National Statistics, the e-commerce sales in the United Kingdom in 2018 was GBP 688.4 billion.?
  • Plastic packaging constitutes a significant part of the UK packaging industry. According to the UK Parliament Plastic Waste Report, 2018, over 2 million metric ton of plastic packaging was being used in the country every year. Also, according to green clean guide, over 53% of all goods are packed using plastic materials. ?
  • Major industries, such as food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, and alcohol industries, that drive the demand for glass bottle packaging are significantly influenced due to the COVID-19 outbreak. For instance, according to the Office for the National Statistics, United Kingdom, in 2019, the consumer spending on pharmaceutical products was GBP 10,737 million. With the outbreak of the Coronavirus, the region is facing an acute shortage of medicine supply due to the over-dependence on countries, such as China and India.



Key Market Trends


Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on the Market

  • With the recent outbreak of COVID 19, the United Kingdom packaging market is witnessing a decline in the growth, owing to widespread lockdown adopted by government and supply chain disruption faced due to lockdown.?
  • All the sectors except healthcare and food and beverage are shut down in the country. Thus, the packaging manufacturers are extending their support to the healthcare sector by providing the necessary packaging materials.?
  • In the United Kingdom, the demand for glass bottles for milk surged from the beginning of 2018, and according to a survey by BBC, 17 firms out of 20 that were surveyed stated a rise in sales of bottled milk (glass) to homes and businesses, amid the increasing concerns over waste from the usage of plastic. This is expected to be influenced significantly due to disruption in the supply chain of milk due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and according to a warning from NFU, up to 30% of dairy farmers could be affected by milk price cuts due to the slump in demand.?
  • With supply chain influenced, milk producers are reducing prices in the United Kingdom. For example, Medina Dairies in the United Kingdom have cut their price by 2p per liter to a standard 23.75p per liter from May 1st. With such developments, the adoption of glass bottles is expected to be slumped as well until the end of 2020. ?
  • Various companies in the region are operating with limited capacity to meet the demand from the healthcare and food and beverage industry. For instance, Transcend Packaging has adapted its operations to produce one million face shields a week, as the coronavirus continues to spread.?



Plastic Packaging Shares a Substantial Market

  • Plastic packaging has changed the ways in which the packaging industry used to function in the United Kingdom. Packaging solutions are lightweight, durable, and comfortable, and these are some of the factors that augmented the use of plastics as a packaging material across the United Kingdom.
  • The demand for plastic packaging continues to surge even though serious concerns are being raised about its impact on the environment. However, the market will face challenges from government regulations and consumer demand, pushing the manufacturers to look for alternative plastic packaging solutions that are biodegradable or derived from sustainable sources.
  • Packaging solutions are used across various industries, such as manufacturing, retail, and healthcare. Plastic packaging has gained significant traction in the healthcare industry, due to its high barrier properties, long shelf-life, and durability. The demand for plastic packaging solutions will continue to grow throughout the forecast period.
  • The UK government is planning to introduce a new tax on all plastic packaging that does not include at least 30% recycled content. Government initiatives, including the imposed levies on plastic carrier bags, have also affected the sales, and thus, exacerbated the volatile trading conditions over the past five years.



Competitive Landscape


The United Kingdom packaging market is moderately consolidated and consists of several major players. In terms of market share, some of the players currently dominate the market in terms of overall share. These major players with a prominent share in the market are focusing on expanding their customer base across the end users. These companies are leveraging on strategic collaborative initiatives, to increase their market share and profitability.

  • May 2019 - Amcor Limited and Bemis Company Inc. announced that the regulatory clearance was received from the US Department of Justice, in relation to the combination of the two companies. A condition of this approval is the previously announced sale of certain Amcor’s assets in the United States to Tekni-Plex Inc.
  • November 2019 - Heineken U.K. announced to introduce cardboard packaging to replace the plastic rings used on its multipack cans.By the end of 2021 all of Heineken U.K.’s multi-pack cans, which include brands such as Strongbow and John Smith’s, will be free from plastic.
  • May 2019 - DS Smith Plastic’s Injection Moulding business segment launched a new line of packaging options known as Loop Ready Packaging (LRP). LRPs are robust, reusable, returnable, and fully recyclable packaging options that deliver incredible benefits for brands, retailers, consumers, and the planet.



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