Healthcare Packaging Market – Functionality and Performance to Map the Road Ahead

Technologically-driven innovation has been, and will continue to persist as an instrument to lead the progress of the packaging industry in the coming years. As e-Commerce remains the newly found interest of numerous end-use industries, the packaging industry requires a sustained upshift in investments to target the niche demands of these industries, and make way for advancement.

Healthcare packaging is one such lucrative end-use segment of the packaging industry, which has been on an incremental growth path, given the influence of doorstep delivery on consumers. As the scale of innovation shifts towards a higher range in the healthcare industry, with the advent of customized-drug development, healthcare packaging manufacturers step up their efforts to devise solutions, competent enough to handle drugs in even small batches.

Sensing the growth potential, Transparency Market Research (TMR), in its latest study, brings to the fore actionable intelligence regarding the significant parameters influencing the shape and size of the healthcare packaging market during the historical period of 2014-2018 and forecast period of 2019-2027.

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Uncovering the Evolution of the Healthcare Packaging Market

Healthcare packaging has been an integral part of the packaging industry for ensuring the safe and secure transportation of medical products. Concerns apropos of the infiltration of counterfeit products in the supply chain have incited stakeholders of the pharmaceutical industry to safeguard their brands from defamation, which has channelized huge capital in the healthcare packaging industry. In 2018, ~ 167 billion healthcare packaging units were sold, which corresponds to a value of ~ US$ 91 billion.

As medical supplies and devices encounter numerous issues – drug leakage, ruined labels, misaligned pallets, and deformation of containers – the demand for rigid healthcare packaging is likely to grow and bring in high conversion in terms of volume sales. Automation in the manufacturing facility, in general, and production line, in particular, is the lever to address the evolving demands of the pharmaceutical industry. This has encouraged manufacturers to prioritize investments in their manufacturing hubs to match the designated supply with the demand in stipulated time.

In the future, the shifting paradigm of manufacturers away from glass to plastic, on account of its durability, wide availability, low cost, and flexibility, is likely to significantly reduce operational costs. Besides, the evolutionary landscape will spectate a movement towards child-resistance, tamper-proof, anti-counterfeit, and senior-citizen-friendly packaging, which can be achieved by improving the performance of materials and functionality of packaging products.

Undercurrents Molding the Growth of the Healthcare Packaging Market

Preference for Plastic Increasing as a Packaging Material

Traditionally, the healthcare packaging industry remained driven by cost and safety; however, as the landscape expands its horizons, ‘functionality’ and ‘performance’ have become the new attractive propositions.

On similar lines, despite growing intolerance and stringent regulatory norms, plastic has been reigning as the ‘material of the hour’ in the healthcare packaging industry, enjoying around two-third share of the market. With the availability of diverse categories of plastic – Polyethylene, Polypropylene, Polystyrene, Polyvinyl Chloride, Polyamide, and Polyurethanes, among others – manufacturers have the luxury of choosing an ideal material for their packaging needs. However, as manufacturers adopt environmental-thinking, R&D initiatives towards paper packaging materials are likely to boost the market share of paper and paperboard through to 2027.

Medical Supplies to Offer Lucrative Sales Opportunities

Among the other end-use segments – pharmaceuticals and biological packaging and medical equipment packaging – medical supplies are likely to offer incremental growth opportunities on account of their high demand through online portals. These are expected to hold nearly half of the market share. The giant of e-Commerce, Amazon, is poised to move into the medical sector to safeguard its majority sales of medical supplies, which has caused an industry-wide revolution in the space. This has led to an increase in the number of e-Commerce-healthcare partnerships, which is likely to grow in the near future.

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Healthcare Packaging Market: Winning Strategies to Achieve High Volume Sales

As the operational costs of healthcare packaging businesses heavily rely upon the supply stream of raw materials, manufacturers set up their manufacturing facilities at sites with a seamless flow of raw materials. This leads to a significant reduction in overhead costs on account of the minimized transportation activities of raw materials. However, establishing a new facility, in turn, demands huge capital. Manufacturers can partner with local players in the developing markets of Asia Pacific by resorting to the outsourcing business model to broaden their exposure and generate high ROI.

Though the infiltration of plastic has been an inseparable one in the healthcare packaging industry, broadening of carbon footprints is likely to level up the stringency of regulations in the landscape. Thus, a shift away from plastic will be an unavoidable one. Manufacturers who foresee the shift and adapt to new-age material trends – paper and paperboard – will be able to safeguard their revenue in the coming years.

As instances regarding the counterfeiting of medical supplies, medicines, and drugs have been on an upsurge, healthcare packaging manufacturers necessitate a shift towards saving their business from defamation. Manufacturers can leverage the prowess of anti-counterfeiting technologies such as RFID tags and barcode stickers to secure their supply chain.

Gauging the Competition Intensity in the Healthcare Packaging Market

Highly Fragmented Market Space

The healthcare packaging market is a landscape, wherein, the current potential of a single market player can be deemed insufficient to move the entire industry in a particular direction. Collectively, leading players account for ~10% of the market share, with ‘expansion through acquisition’ being their distinguished strategy. These players include:

  • Berry Global, Inc.
  • WestRock Company
  • Amcor Limited
  • Mondi Group
  • Sonoco Products Company
  • Constantia Flexibles Group GmbH
  • Bemis Company, Inc.
  • Klöckner Pentaplast Europe GmbH & Co. KG

Usually, their targeted regional and overseas territories include North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. For instance, the strategic thinking of Amcor Limited is to maintain a strong foothold in the global market, and it enjoys its presence in over 195 sites across 43 countries. In August 2018, it averred the acquisition of its competitor, Bemis Company Inc., intending to multiply its plastic packaging sales in North America and Latin America.

Regional players, in contrast, endeavor towards bringing in innovation in the space to stand out in the fragmented market. For instance, in September 2018, DS Smith PLC announced the launch of AkyPure®, a new range of polypropylene packaging for the pharmaceutical industry.

Low Threat of New Market Entrants and Substitutes

Given the evolutionary landscape that the healthcare packaging market is, manufacturers operate amidst the inner territories of stringent environmental norms, frequent switch to other materials, and counterfeiters. This calls for frequent high capital investments in order to adapt to the emerging trends in the stipulated time, which widens the entry barrier for new players in the healthcare packaging market. In addition, since the healthcare packaging landscape covers a broad array of packaging formats, materials, and products, the threat of substitutes is at an extremely low level.

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Healthcare Packaging – Market Dynamics

  • Pharmaceutical industry growth is co-related to investments in healthcare. The growth of the economy of a country attracts major investments from pharmaceutical manufacturers for new drug development and innovations in different dosage forms. Developing economies are claiming an increasing share of the global healthcare consumption, including medical devices, disposable supplies, pharmaceutical products, and associated procedures. This is attributed to rising medical awareness, economic prosperity, and increasing ageing population.
  • The healthcare packaging market includes pharmaceuticals, biologicals, medical supplies, and equipment, which are highly dependent on domestic and international regulations and standards. These regulations are binding on packaging manufacturers who want to expand or enter the healthcare packaging business. Materials used, sterilization, and tamper-evident packaging act as crucial factors in healthcare packaging. Regulatory changes will have a positive impact on anti-counterfeiting, brand protection, and security packaging in developed economies in the next five years.
  • Some of the leading healthcare packaging companies have adopted outsourcing models to expand their market footprint, and thus, generate high ROI. Contracting with local companies helps manufacturers lower their operational costs. Furthermore, packaging companies can benefit from better pricing by outsourcing healthcare packaging. Moreover, the overall run time cost and transportation and logistics costs are reduced to a greater extent.
  • The healthcare packaging market is one of the fastest growing sectors in the healthcare industry. Medical devices and supplies encounter many problems during transportation and storage. The need for the protection of medical devices and supplies from physical damage and contamination is expected to drive the need for healthcare packaging solutions. Various packaging manufacturers are introducing innovative packaging solutions.
  • Healthcare packaging is expected to experience tremendous change in its process of operation and timelines, as manufacturers are focusing on innovation by adopting automation in line and process manufacturing. Although sterilization is a matter of concern, cost is also a priority. Manufacturers are emphasizing on operational costs by reducing run time costs and material. Many leading companies already possess automation lines; however, regional players based in China and India are upgrading their technologies to match end-user needs in the stipulated time.

Healthcare Packaging Market Expected to Expand 1.5X over the Forecast Period

  • With the increasing intolerance for plastic use in packaging, plastic material is expected to drive the growth of the global healthcare packaging market. Plastic material enables innovations, which can help protect healthcare & pharmaceutical products from damage, preserve product integrity, and prevent contamination. Also, plastic is cheaper and more durable than its counterparts such as paper, metal, or glass.
  • Medical supplies occupy more than 1/3 of the total healthcare packaging market share. The segment is expected to grow further. However, considerable demand is anticipated from the pharmaceuticals & biological segments due to the rising consumption of drugs and medicines among children, and the increasing geriatric population.

Healthcare Packaging Market – Competition Dashboard

  • Detailed profiles of key players operating in healthcare packaging are included in the report to assess their key product offerings, financials, recent developments, and strategies.

Some of the main players operating in the global healthcare packaging market are

  • 3M Company Amcor Limited,
  • Avery Dennison Corporation,
  • Ball Corporation,
  • Bemis Company, Inc.
  • Berry Global, Inc.
  • BillerudKorsnäs AB
  • CCL Industries Inc.
  • Constantia Flexibles Group GmbH
  • DS Smith Plc
  • Dunmore Corporation
  • Honeywell International
  • Huhtamäki Oyj
  • Klöckner Pentaplast Europe GmbH & Co. KG
  • Mondi Group
  • Sealed Air Corporation
  • Sonoco Products Company
  • Toray Plastics (America). Inc.
  • WestRock Company
  • Winpak Ltd.

Healthcare Packaging Market – Key Developments

  • Manufacturers of healthcare packaging are actively engaged in product launches & expansion activities to expand their business segments and explore different markets.
  • In August 2018, Amcor Limited acquired its leading U.S. competitor, Bemis Company Inc., to expand its plastic packaging sales in the Americas.
  • In September 2018, DS Smith Plc launched AkyPure® − a new line of extruded polypropylene packaging for the pharmaceutical industry.
  • In February 2019, Sealed Air Corporation acquired MGM’s flexible packaging business, its move for expansion in the Asian market.
  • In the global healthcare packaging market report, we have discussed individual strategies, followed by company profiles of the manufacturers of healthcare packaging. The ‘Competitive Landscape’ section is included in the healthcare packaging market report to provide report audiences with a dashboard view and a company market share analysis of top manufacturers operating in the global healthcare packaging market.

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