Total U.S. flexible packaging industry sales were $31 billion in 2015. Volume was 18.1 billion pounds of material. That is according to FPA’s just-released 2016 State of the U.S. Flexible Packaging Industry Report. It further estimates a 2.2% annual growth rate for the industry in 2016.

Within the overall $31 billion figure is the segment of the industry that adds significant value to flexible material, usually by performing multiple processes. That segment posted about $24.1 billion in sales in 2015.

Data is based on figures from FPA members in the FPA State of the Industry Survey, along with additional sources. From 2005 to 2015, flexible packaging has grown at a compound annual rate of 2.7% per year.

In looking to the future, the report foresees a 2.1% sales growth for 2016. Volume, in terms of pounds of materials, would be somewhat lower. The lower volume is probably because of lighter weight materials. In projecting out three to five years, converter expectations are more in line with historical levels: Revenue is expected to rise 3% to 5% per year. Over that period, volume should rise about 2.4% to 4.5% per year.

Rising Share of Total Packaging

When compared to the total $163 billion U.S. packaging industry, flexible packaging is 19% of the total. Since 2000, flexible packaging has grown from 17% of total packaging to the 19% figure for 2015. That results from flexible packaging’s long-term strength and a pattern of replacing other packaging formats.

Other key findings in the report:

Imports of flexible packaging into the U.S. rose 3% in 2015. That figure is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Foreign Trade Div.

Mergers and acquisitions for 2015 included 18 transactions, fewer than the 21 completed in 2014.

“Plastic resins” and “film and sheet” accounted for 63% of materials used by the industry. Paper accounts for about 10%, and ink is 7%. Foil, coatings and adhesives round out the materials used.

“Raw materials” was the leading issue cited by survey respondents.

Cost and availability were the concerning factors.

The industry employs nearly 79,000 people in the United States.

For More Info

Go to Members may download copies. Others may purchase the report.

Methodology and Scope

The report is based on FPA’s State of the Industry Survey and it adds non-member data from FPA’s Industry-Wide Converters Survey. Input includes the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of Manufactures, along with FPA’s long-term historical model of flexible packaging industry growth. The report details sales revenue and volume, inventory, before-tax profits, converter capital spending plans and shipments. It includes global flexible packaging consumption data and import and export figures.