Covid-19 and consumer buying habits boost metal packaging market, Smithers study finds

Covid-19 and consumer buying habits boost metal packaging market, Smithers study finds
According to a just released report from Smithers, The Future of Metal Packaging and Coatings to 2027, strong uptake of food cans and continued growth of beverage cans has offset the metal packaging sectors strongly impacted by the pandemic. The global metal packaging market was valued at $123.1 billion in 2021. After almost two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, sales had increased by over 14% since 2017 when it was estimated to have had a value of $107.6 billion, representing an average annual value growth rate of 3.4%. Metal packaging increased in value by $6.5 billion in 2020 and is estimated to increase $4.2 billion in 2022, according to new data from Smithers.

Metal packaging is further estimated to have a value of $127.3 billion in 2022 and $143.1 billion by 2027 with constant 2020 prices and exchange rates. This represents an annual growth rate of 3.4% for 2017-22 and an annual growth rate of 2.9% for 2022-27.

Metal packaging is made up of five sectors: cans, metal closures, industrial bulk containers, industrial drums and barrels, and other aluminium containers. The largest sector by value is cans, which in 2020 reached $69 billion represented about 58% of the total value. The segment includes beverage, food, aerosol, and other cans, with bulk packaging and metal closures making 42% of the total. Beverage cans maintained and increased the growth record of 2019, and food cans grew in volume by over 10% in all regions, resulting in packaging steel going short. Not only that aluminium beverage cans are short in the USA by 12 billion, and sold out in Europe, beverage can installations are at an all-time high in 2020.

Impact of the pandemic
One of the remarkable outcomes of the pandemic in the developed world was a change in behaviour with food cans, which were 119 billion in 2017. They had an underlying volume growth rate of 0.3% up to 2019, and have become part of the daily a meal item resulting in an 8.7% volume increase or 130 billion cans in 2020. This new demand level developed with further growth of 3.9% in 2021 to become 135 billion and an estimated 137 billion in 2022.

Since the volume growth arose in the Covid-19 crisis, we assume a small growth retraction as the world emerges from the pandemic, as the world emerges from the pandemic, the 2022-27 volume growth in food cans is estimated to be 1.2% annually estimated to be 145 billion in 2027. The forecast for food cans depends on the length of the pandemic, which most likely is three rather than two years.

Consumer buying habits
The packaging outlook is dependent on consumer behaviour and buying habits, and during the pandemic consumers switched strongly to Food can – processed canned food, resulting in packaging steel mills around the world running at capacity, and finding ways to maximise the supply chain. In Western Europe and North America, volumes increased by over 10% in volume, elsewhere 8-10% as consumers make canned food part of the meal and use its long shelf life to avoid the risk of Covid when shopping daily. Post Covid-19 there may be some contraction, but the longer the pandemic is around the more likely the increased volume will stay. There is currently no sign of contraction on tinplate orders.
The beverage sector
In the beverage sector, new products launched have seen a significant increase in selecting metal containers. In 2020 in the US 75% of new beverage products were in metal (Crown Investors Day 2021), which compares to 2015 when it was 35%. The growth in beverage cans is from 2 or potentially 3 waves, the first 2 waves are visible and increasing out there, the third is developing, all of this was evident pre-pandemic. The ‘first wave’ is from the core products of carbonated soft-drinks, beer, and energy drinks, the ‘second wave’ is new products including coffee, tea, hard spritzers, and wine, and then there may yet be a ‘third wave’ which is water.

Metal packaging market share
The share of demand by region and sector type shows Asia to be the main region, however when we look at this by country, the USA leads country by sales value for metal packaging with $28.4 billion sales in 2020, ahead of China with $20.9 billion sales in 2020. These positions remain the same through to 2027.


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The Future of Metal Packaging and Coatings to 2027

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