The UAE Rigid Plastic Packaging Market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.01% during the forecast period 2021-2026.
With the outbreak of COVID-19, rigid plastic packaging is witnessing growth owing to the demand for essential services. According to Aster Retail, Pharmacy groups in the UAE have registered up to a 200% rise in sales of multivitamins and zinc supplements since March 2020, as residents take proactive steps to boost their immunity. And since April 2020, there has been a 220% increase in sales of supplements such as vitamin C and zinc in 2020 compared to 2019, and it is up by 50% in the first five months of 2021 at over 30 pharmacies. Aster Retail has more than 200 pharmacies across the UAE.
- Plastic consumption in UAE has exceeded 100 kg per person. The plastics consumption per capita shows an upward trend over the past decade in UAE, mainly due to the development of new products and material substitution in established markets. In many cases, plastics are still the material of choice, irrespective of metals, paper, etc., in a range of standard products. Also, plastics are the third most exported commodity in the UAE.
- Further, the region is witnessing significant manufacturing developments of plastic materials such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) used considerably in the rigid plastic packaging landscape. In June 2021, Reliance Industries Limited and UAE's state-run oil giant Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) announced that they would develop a new petrochemical joint venture to produce Chlor-alkali, ethylene dichloride, and PVC production facility at Ta'ziz Industrial Complex in Ruwais. The new unit will annually produce 1.1 million tonnes of ethylene dichloride, 940 thousand tones of Chlor-alkali, and 360 thousand tonnes of PVC.
- The EAD's new single-use plastic policy also targets plastic cups, lids, cutlery, straws, stirrers, and food containers. Plastic bottles will be targeted through the introduction of a plastic bottle return deposit scheme.
- Such policies are poised to negatively affect the usage of rigid plastic packaging in the UAE as several entities are poised to follow steps against single-use plastic locally. However, the COVID-19 outbreak has created flexibility in implementing directives banning/regulating single-use plastics and any non-essential regulatory initiatives on plastic products in the region. Also, the demand for premium goods and nonfood packaging is being hit as stores closed due to lockdown and as consumers started to cut back on their spending.
Key Market Trends
Food Industry is Expected to hold the Significant Market Share
- The food industry is one of the largest consumers of packaging in the country. The country has a high rate of packaged food and beverage consumption, owing to rapid urbanization and an increasing number of tourists and expiates that often prefer safer processed foods. Also, the country has stringent packaging regulations in terms of food and beverages.
- The trend of economical smaller packages and super-saver bulk packages is highly adopted in the food and beverage industry. For instance, Nutella launched a 750-gm format of plastic closures in spreads in the UAE market. These packs proved to be increasingly popular, as they offer better value to the consumer. Several other food brands have launched products in the market as well.
- The shift within food consumption has brought its own challenges, especially concerning food hygiene, transportation, and storage. The high temperatures often experienced in the UAE mean that food packaging must be contamination-free from the outset and properly sealed to maintain the freshness and moisture content. Plastic materials such as PP have a high heat tolerance, making them useful for packaging food in a hot temperature climate.
Pharmaceutical to Witness Significant Growth Due to Covid and Online Purchasing Trends
- The standardization of the 'Made in UAE' initiative, which introduces the local manufacturers to the global market, is helping the country to reduce its reliance on imports and strengthen its export potential. The growth of this kind in the manufacturing sector has encouraged considerable investments in the packaging industry.
- According to the joint study by Dubai Economy and global payments technology company, Visa, the UAE is making rapid strides as the fastest growing e-commerce market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). According to the study, UAE shoppers are among the top spenders online. In the broader Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia (MENASA) region, the UAE represents the biggest annual spending per online shopper, at USD 1,648, with growth projected at 29.6%through 2020-2021.
- Universal healthcare has been rolled out, creating a myriad of opportunities for pharmacies to cater to the country's growing population, and the proliferation of non-communicable lifestyle diseases means that the country's medical needs will continue to grow in the coming years. Most of the investments in the packaging sector are made toward adjusting their packaging practices to the country's current economic situation and evolving standards.
- At the beginning of the pandemic itself, more people began buying vitamin C and zinc as part of their efforts to boost immunity. When Covid-19 numbers peaked, the demand rose tremendously across Aster more than 35 pharmacies. At least there was a two-fold increase in the sale during these pea covid months (source: Aster Pharmacy)
The UAE Rigid Plastic Packaging market is highly competitive and consists of a significant number of global and regional players. These players account for a considerable share in the market and focus on expanding their client base across the globe. These players focus on the research and development activities, strategic alliances, and other organic & inorganic growth strategies to stay in the market landscape over the forecast period.
- April 2020 - Agthia partnered with Veolia to launch several sustainability initiatives, establishing a circular ecosystem to pave the way towards more PET recycling in UAE. Also, the company launched packaging called Al Ain Plant Bottle, which is environmentally friendly and made of complete plant-based sources, including the cap.
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