Growing Emphasis on Lightweight Packaging to Propel Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) Foams Market

Low density polymer foams are increasingly being used in an array of industrial and civil applications worldwide. Low density polyethylene foams have gained considerable popularity in recent years, owing to the desired heat insulation, low density, optimum sound insulation effects, and exceptional corrosion resistance. The trend is projected to continue over the forthcoming decade, as these polymers offer significant advantages over voluminous polymer materials. In the current scenario, low density polyethylene foams are extensively used in a host on end-use industries, including building & construction, packaging, automotive, electrical & electronics, sports, aerospace, and medical. The packaging sector is expected to present abundant opportunities for participants of the low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market during the forecast period.

Low density polyethylene foams play an imperative role in minimizing packaging volumes and weight due to which, adoption across the packing sector is expected to grow. Over the past couple of decades, investments in research and product development activities have increased at a rapid pace due to the tightening market landscape, evolving consumer demands, and regulatory landscape. Environmental concerns around the world have led to the development of recyclable low density polyethylene foams in recent years– a factor that is projected to drive market growth. At the back of these factors, the global low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market is expected to attain a market value of ~US$ 3 Bn by the end of 2030.

low density polyethylene market infographic

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High Adoption across Packaging Sector to Drive Global Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) Foams Market

A low density polyethylene foam is the main resin type that is widely used to manufacture expanded polyethylene foam and cross-linked polyethylene foam. At present, due to the evolving consumer and industrial requirements, a lot of emphasis is being laid on the development of tailor-made industrial packaging solutions. The soaring demand for low density polyethylene foams to manufacture cross-linked polyethylene and expanded polyethylene foams is expected to play a key role in the expansion of the global low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market.

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Both these types of low density polyethylene foams offer unique several advantages. However, the adoption of expanded low density polyethylene foams is on the rise, due to the ideal packaging protection they offer, economic pricing, and recyclability. Expanded low density polyethylene foams are primarily used in many packaging applications, including packaging of semiconductor equipment, medical equipment, IT servers, robotics components, and automotive class A surfaces.

The difference in the manufacturing processes of the two types of low density polyethylene foams sets them apart in terms of properties. The desired strength to weight ratio offers a dynamic cushioning solution due to which, the adoption is anticipated to remain during the forecast period.

Consistent Demand from Automotive Sector to Augment Market

The automotive industry is expected to provide fertile grounds for market growth during the forecast period, as more number of automotive companies continue to strive to introduce cost-effective and comfortable automotive vehicles. An array of polymers are used across the automotive industry, as research activities have paved the way for the development of new polymers that are ideal for use in automotive applications. Another major factor that is currently playing an imperative role in augmenting the demand from the automotive industry include stringent regulations pertaining to emission standards.

As recycling continues to remain the focal point across a host of industries, recyclable materials such as low density polyethylene foams are increasingly being used. While opportunities in the automotive sector are expected to interest the stakeholders involved in the current low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market, the healthcare sector is gradually emerging as a prominent end-use industry.

Adoption for Healthcare Equipment Packaging on Rise amid COVID-19 Crisis

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to hamper the overall growth of the global low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market, particularly in 2020. As the global supply chains continue to take a heavy beating due to lockdowns, initially in China and the other powerhouses of raw materials, including India, the adoption across various industrial sectors apart from healthcare is expected to remain sluggish.

As the demand for personal protection equipment, ventilators, medical syringes, and other medical supplies expands at an exponential rate, the demand for low-density polyethylene foams for medical packaging applications is witnessing considerable growth. While the healthcare sector is projected to remain the most prominent end-use industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic, companies in the low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market are expected to ideally focus on capitalizing on these opportunities.

low density polyethylene market segmentation

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Analysts’ Viewpoint

The global low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market is expected to grow at a moderate CAGR of ~5% during the forecast period. At present, although the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is hindering the growth prospects of the global low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market, the soaring demand from the healthcare sector will generate considerable revenues. The market growth during the forecast period can be primarily attributed to evolving packaging requirements, investments in research, and development of customized low-density polyethylene foam solutions for different industrial applications. 

Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) Foams Market: Overview

  • Low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams possess varying textures and appears soft akin to urethane foams or harder akin to some polystyrene foams. There are two general types of LDPE foams: expanded low density polyethylene foams and cross-linked low-density polyethylene foams. These are distinguishable from one another by the process with which they are formed.
  • LDPE foams are used in various applications, owing to their desirable properties including water resistance, chemical resistance, compressive strength, energy absorbance, buoyancy, and cushioning. LDPE foams tend to exhibit more compressive creep, meaning they become less thick over time than higher density foams.

Key Growth Drivers of Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) Foams Market

  • Demand for sports equipment/products has been increasing at a rapid pace across the globe, due to the rise in urbanization and growth in disposable income of consumers. LDPE foams are being increasingly employed in the sports industry, as they possess better physical properties such as high elasticity. They also provide protection against repeated shock from relatively high stresses. The global low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market has been expanding significantly owing to the benefits of these foams such as water resistance, chemical resistance, compressive strength, energy absorbance, buoyancy, and cushioning.
  • LDPE foams are largely used in the automotive industry due to their compressive strength. The automotive industry has been striving to lower the weight of the average car, and thus improve fuel consumption and performance. In line with this, manufacturers have started using LDPE foams in commercial and small private vehicles. These foams are being used in large quantities in buses and coaches, as they are light in weight, and offer impact and vibration absorption properties including splash resistance to oils and fuels. LDPE foams also offer acoustic and thermal insulation properties; buoyancy with low water absorption; and thermo-forming and thermo-molding properties. This is anticipated to drive the global low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market during the forecast period.

Major Challenges for Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) Foams Market

  • Raw materials such as ethylene and polyethylene are used in the manufacturing of LDPE foams. These petrochemical derivatives are subject to fluctuation in prices and supply of crude oil. Constant variation in prices of crude oil adds pressure on manufacturers of LDPE foams, as changes in prices escalate the production cost of these foams. Furthermore, manufacturers are reluctant to increase the prices of their products due to concerns about losing market share. This is expected to adversely affect the global low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market.
  • Fluctuation in prices of crude oil significantly affects exploration activities. This, in turn, hampers the prices of LDPE foams. Natural gas or crude oil is largely used as feedstock for these foams. This makes the low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market more susceptible to fluctuation in prices of oil and gas.

Lucrative Opportunities for Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) Foams Market

  • Rise in demand for energy sustainable and energy conservative materials is driving the demand for LDPE foams. The global construction industry is estimated to reach US$ 8 Trn by 2030, creating a global annual growth in demand for thermal insulation of 4% to 5%. LDPE foams are widely used in thermal insulation purposes to reduce heat loss. Currently, the European Union and North America are leading proponents of building codes to reduce energy consumption in the construction industry.
  • Demand for thermal insulation has increased substantially in buildings, as their role in reducing energy dependency and greenhouse gas emissions has been recognized. New or improved thermal insulation requirements have emerged across the Middle East and throughout India, China, South Africa, and Latin America. LDPE foams are used in building & construction end-use applications such as forging, pipe-in-pipe, doors, roof boards, and slabs. LDPE foams possess excellent thermal insulation, moisture resistance, and sound and vibration absorption properties. Hence, these foams are ideal for usage in the building & construction industry. LDPE foams also possess excellent heat insulation capacity. Therefore, these foams are used to insulate pipes of heating systems. For the same reason, these foams are used on cement under tile or parquet floors for the absorption of noise. Thus, LDPE foams are also employed to insulate roofs, especially roofs of homes and offices.

Asia Pacific to Dominate Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) Foams Market

  • Asia Pacific constituted major share of the global low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market in 2019. It is projected to remain a highly lucrative region of the global low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market during the forecast period, due to rapid industrialization and rise in the demand for LDPE foams in packaging and building & construction industries in the region. China is a key country of the low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market in Asia Pacific, owing to growth of industries such as automotive in the country. China is a major hub for automotive products, wherein LDPE foams are used due to the latter’s superior properties vis-à-vis other foams.

Packaging Industry Dominated Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) Foams Market

  • Based on end-use industry, the packaging segment accounted for significant share of the global low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market in 2019. Packaging is a common application of LDPE foams. LDPE foams are primarily employed in retail packaging including counter & window display pads, transparent sleeve packs, jewelry pads, and coins. Thus, rise in demand for food & beverage packaging, flexible packaging, and corrugated board packaging is estimated to propel the packaging segment of the global low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market during the forecast period.
  • LDPE foams are primarily used in the packaging industry to protect products from damages, as LDPE foams absorb energy and can help achieve different levels of cushioning protection, depending on the exact density of the foams. Furthermore, LDPE foams possess chemical resistance, which helps them resist the common causes of degradation.

Leading Players Actively Engage in Joint Ventures and R&D Activities

  • Key players operating in the global low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market include 
    • The Dow Chemical Company
    • Armacell International S.A.
    • Sealed Air Corporation
    • Zotefoams plc
    • JSP
    • UFP Technologies, Inc.
    • INOAC CORPORATION
    • Abriso-Jiffy NV
    • Thermotec
    • American Excelsior, Inc
    • Ramfoam Limited
    • Wisconsin Foam Products
    • Ultralon Foam Group
    • Sekisui Voltek, LLC
    • PAR Group
    • Zhuhai Newcean Technology Co.Ltd,
    • The Rubber Company. 
  • These companies actively engage in expansions, mergers & acquisitions, and joint ventures in order to maintain their share in the global low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market.
  • On June 17, 2019, Abriso NV acquired Airpack S.p.a. The Italy-based Airpack S.p.a. specializes in the extrusion of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) products for packaging and construction applications

Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) Foams Market: Overview

Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) is a thermoplastic polymer of ethylene made by process of free radical polymerization at high pressure. It has density in the range of 0.910g/cc to 0.940g/cc which results in low tensile strength but high ductility. LDPE offers high electrical & chemical resistance and transparency which makes it ideal to use in end industries such as flexible packaging, automotive, construction, green house, tunnels, insulation coax and others. 
 
Rising demand from automotive and construction industry is expected to drive LDPE market. Changing lifestyle and rising disposable income is driving the automotive market. LDPE offers transparency at low weight which is expected to boost the demand from automotive industry, owing to stringent government regulations to increase the vehicle efficiency. Further, growth of food packaging industry is expected to drive the market where transparency of the packaging is important and consumer groups prefer transparent packaging. Food packaging includes meat and poultry wrapping, snacks, dairy and sweets, baked goods and frozen goods. Owing to rising population, demand from construction industry is expected to boost the market in developing countries. Demand for energy efficient civil and industrial infrastructure in developed countries is expected to fuel LDPE market. In addition, government regulations in developing countries regarding energy efficient industrial infrastructure is anticipated to drive the market. 
 
Replacement of LDPE by linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) in many applications due to its low cost and environment regulations may hamper the market growth. Further, replacement by HDPE in agricultural films and volatility in raw material prices may hamper the market growth. Polyethylene is manufactured from petrochemical derivatives, rising crude oil price and complex manufacturing process may hamper the market growth. Rising demand for use of LDPE in medical film is expected to provide opportunity for market players in the near future. In addition, demand from molded laboratory equipments, injection moulding and adhesive laminate is expected to provide opportunities for LDPE market in the near future. Bio-derived polyethylene production from sugarcane by some companies in expected to open new opportunity in developing country such as Brazil. 
 
Europe was largest producer and exporter of LDPE and is expected to remain in the near future. Demand from automobile industry due to government regulations’ regarding vehicle efficiency is expected to drive the market in this region. Building energy efficient infrastructure is driving the demand for insulation products and is expected to drive the LDPE market. Asia Pacific region is expected to grow at higher pace owing to rising demand from automotive and construction industry. Large capacity additions in China and Middle East are expected to increase the supply of LDPE. Increase in industrial constructions in China is expected to drive the market in this region. North America region is expected to grow at moderate rate due to demand from food packaging industry and automotive industry.
 
Some of the key players in the Low Density Polyethylene market include British Polythene Industries, Borealis AG, Dow Chemical Company, GE Oil & Gas, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC, Exxon Mobil Chemical Company, Huntsman Corporation, DuPont, Formosa Plastics Corporation, Ineos PLC, Nova Chemicals Corporation, PEMEX, LyondellBasell Industries, SINOPEC, Qatar Chemical Company Ltd SABIC, Westlake Chemical Corp. among others.
 
This research report analyzes this market on the basis of its market segments, major geographies, and current market trends. Geographies analyzed under this research report include 
  • North America 
  • Asia Pacific 
  • Europe
  • Rest of the World  
This report provides comprehensive analysis of 
  • Market growth drivers 
  • Factors limiting market growth
  • Current market trends 
  • Market structure
  • Market projections for upcoming years 
This report is a complete study of current trends in the market, industry growth drivers, and restraints. It provides market projections for the coming years. It includes analysis of recent developments in technology, Porter’s five force model analysis and detailed profiles of top industry players. The report also includes a review of micro and macro factors essential for the existing market players and new entrants along with detailed value chain analysis. 
 
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Low Density Polyethylene Market

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