Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) Foams Market: Introduction
The global low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market was valued at ~US$ 1.5 Bn in 2019 and is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of ~5% during the forecast period. The global LDPE foams (LDPE) market is expected to expand at a rapid pace during the forecast period, due to the increase in penetration of LDPE foams in various sectors, particularly packaging, building & construction, and medical; significant growth of certain industries, such as protective packaging, wherein LDPE foams are being introduced; availability of advanced raw materials and processing methods that facilitate the manufacture of products with improved properties; and rise in research and development activities.
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Key Drivers of Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) Foams Market
LDPE foams are primarily used in the packaging industry to protect products from damages, as LDPE foams absorb energy and can achieve different levels of cushioning protection depending on the exact density of these foams. LDPE foams also possesses chemical resistance properties. This helps LDPE foams resist common causes of degradation. Packaging provides consumers with information that can be of crucial importance to their health. This includes degree of freshness and ripeness, color, shelf life, ingredients, and nutritional values of products. The global packaging market was valued at US$ 851 Bn in 2017, up by 2.8% compared to that in the previous year. It reached US$ 876 Bn in 2018, based on annual growth of 2.9%, and is expected to reach US$ 980 Bn in 2022 and US$ 1,000 Bn in 2023. Rise in population and increase in urbanization are fueling trade, and subsequently, the use of packaging. Online trade is further boosting the need for packaging. Products are also being consumed on-the-go. This is driving the need for food service packaging and different sizes of packaging.
LDPE foams are primarily used in retail packaging, including counter & window display pads, transparent sleeve packs, jewelry pads, and coins. Thus, rise in preference of food & beverage packaging, flexible packaging, and corrugated board packaging is estimated to propel the low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market.
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Cross-linked Polyethylene Foams to Offer Attractive Opportunities
In terms of type, the cross-linked polyethylene foams (XLPE foams) segment accounted for a major share of the global low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market in 2019. XLPE foams offer superior thermal stability and insulation in addition to improved dimensional consistency and stability over a wide range of fabrication methods. As a result, these foams are employed widely in medical, protective packaging, automobile, sports & recreational, and building & construction applications. Cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) foam is a high-density, closed-cell foam that has a compact feel. It resists water and chemicals. The cross-linking of polyethylene is a chemical or irradiation process that ties all of polymer molecules together by a strong chemical bond.
Several properties of XLPE foams are same as those of polyethylene foams. XLPE foams have the ability to protect interior and exterior surfaces. These foams can be placed directly in contact with high-finish surfaces. XLPE foams are used extensively in the packaging of medical products and equipment and several multi-part presentation kits. Most XLPE foams are also available in anti-static formulations.
Availability of Superior Performance Substitutes to Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) Foams to Hamper Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) Foams Market
LDPE foams face stiff competition from low-cost core material substitutes such as styrene acrylonitrile (SAN), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polystyrene (PS), polyurethane (PU), polymethacrylamide (PMI), polyetherimide (PEI), as well as balsa and honeycombs. Polyurethane foams are extensively used due to their low density, thermal conductivity, and good mechanical strength. Additionally, the technology employed for the manufacture of polyurethane foams is well-established. Therefore, these foams are superior to other foams. Polystyrene foams are extensively employed in building and appliance insulation, surfboards, and lightweight protective packaging. Attributes of polystyrene foam such as endurance to the infiltration of moisture & condensation and durability make it a key alternative for usage in the production of sheet metal outer casing and inner liners for refrigerators and freezers.
Polyvinyl chloride foam is made of polyvinyl chloride and polyuria. The resulting product offers characteristics such as good mechanical strength, fire retardancy, chemically resistance, and endurance to bacterial growth. These foams are employed in thermal insulation of non-structural parts, road signs, and sandwich structures of boats, among others.
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Asia Pacific Dominates Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) Foams Market
Asia Pacific constituted a prominent share of the global low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market in 2019, due to economic growth and rise in foreign direct investments (FDIs) in India, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. This has boosted automotive and building & construction sectors in the region. China accounted for a prominent share of the low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market in Asia Pacific in 2019, owing to significant increase in demand for automotive equipment in the country over the last few years. The Government of China supports advancements in technology and increase in production capabilities. China’s National Development and Reform Commission is in the process of supervising a multi-trillion-dollar nationwide project to industrialize the underdeveloped western provinces of the country. This project is expected to boost the low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market in China during the forecast period.
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Key Players in Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) Foams Market
The global low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market is consolidated. The top five players — The Dow Chemical Company, Armacell International S.A., Sealed Air Corporation, Zotefoams plc, and JSP — cumulatively held more than 40% share of the global low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market in 2019. Zotefoams plc was the major producer of LDPE foams with more than 10% share of the global low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market in 2019. Other companies operating in the global low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams market include a large number of local manufacturers in India and China who produce LDPE foams in smaller volumes and cater to the domestic markets. These are a part of the unorganized market.
Global Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) Foams Market: Segmentation
Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) Foams Market, by Type
- Cross-linked Polyethylene Foams (XLPE Foams)
- Expanded Polyethylene Foam (EPE Foams)
Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) Foams Market, by End-use Industry
- Building & Construction
- Electrical & Electronics
- Others (including Medical and Aerospace)