GVR Report cover Thermoformed Plastics Market Size, Share & Trends Report

Thermoformed Plastics Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Product (Bio-degradable Polymers, PE, PVC, PP), By Process, By Application, By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2021 - 2028

  • Published Date: Apr, 2021
  • Base Year for Estimate: 2020
  • Report ID: GVR-1-68038-474-1
  • Format: Electronic (PDF)
  • Historical Data: 2017 - 2019
  • Number of Pages: 132

Report Overview

The global thermoformed plastics market size was estimated at USD 12.38 billion in 2020 and is expected to register a CAGR of 3.9% from 2021 to 2028. The increasing demand for thermoformed plastics from the food packaging and pharmaceutical packaging sectors is expected to be a key factor driving the market growth over the forecast period.

The thermoforming process involves the fabrication of plastic sheets, after which they are heated so as to convert them into a flexible form that can be molded into the desired shape which varies based on the end-use application. Thermoformed plastics are increasingly used as a metal replacement using the heavy gauge process, making them suitable for applications such as transportation, industrial equipment, aerospace, kiosks, and medical devices.

U.S. thermoformed plastics market size

In the medical industry, thermoformed plastics are used in the manufacturing of diagnostic systems, accessories, and medical plants. Thermoforming includes a manufacturing process of converting a two-dimensional thermo polymer into a three-dimensional shape. In the pharmaceutical industry, thermoformed plastics are used for products such as prefilled syringes, pharmaceutical bottles, and medical electronics as well as for capsules and tablet packing such as blister packaging.

Thermoformed plastics are widely used to produce lightweight vehicles due to their properties such as lightweight, durability, and strength. The growing automotive industry, coupled with the regulations favoring light vehicle usage, is expected to benefit the thermoformed plastics demand across the globe. However, volatile raw material costs associated with thermoformed plastics are anticipated to pose hindrances in terms of profitability.

In 2020, food packaging dominated the application segment of the thermoformed plastics market. The growing demand for packaged mineral water, milk, carbonated drinks, and fruit juice is projected to boost the market. In addition, a large number of consumers are moving from unpacked to packaged food items propelling the growth of the thermoformed plastics market. In addition, increasing retail store businesses such as convenience stores, hypermarkets, and supermarkets are projected to propel the food packaging industry, which is expected to fuel the demand for thermoformed plastics.

Product Insights

Polypropylene dominated the product segment in 2020, with a revenue share of over 21.0%. This trend is expected to continue through the forecast period. Commonly used resins in thermoformed plastic production include polyethylene (PE), polystyrene (PS), and polypropylene (PP).

PP is a thermoplastic polymer and is widely used to produce food packaging products such as cups, trays, margarine tubs, sandwich packs, disposable products, beverage glasses, and microwaveable containers. A growing number of manufacturers using polypropylene for packaging products would subsequently drive the overall demand for thermoformed plastics.

Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) is expected to register the highest CAGR over the forecast period. This is attributed to the advantages it offers, such as light transmission, high surface hardness, and extended service life, along with certain properties such as high resistance to weathering and UV light. It is also completely recyclable and is hence environment-friendly, further driving the segment growth.

Increasing innovations, product developments, and investments in PMMA have been observed, particularly in the Middle Eastern region. For instance, Mitsubishi Rayon and SABIC announced a new joint venture for building a PMMA plant in Saudi Arabia. Key industry players that account for a major share of the overall manufacturing of PMMA include Mitsubishi Rayon Co. Ltd, Evonik Industries AG, and Altuglas International.

Process Insights

Thin gauge thermoformed plastic dominated the market in 2020 and is expected to remain the largest process segment through the forecast period. Thermoformed plastics are manufactured through contact, radiant, and hot air heating techniques. Increasing demand for thin gauge thermoformed plastics for products such as medical device packaging trays in the healthcare sector is anticipated to drive the segment growth over the forecast period.

Thick gauge thermoforms are sturdy and rigid enclosures that are used to pack electronic equipment. Thick gauge thermoformed plastics are used in a wide range of applications including front and rear bumpers and interior trim components in the heavy trucks industry. They are also used in enclosures for treadmills and weights in fitness equipment; large decorative signs in signage; cowlings, dash components, and fenders in the agricultural sector; and cab interiors and engine covers in the construction equipment industry.

Plug assist forming is projected to be the fastest-growing process segment over the forecast period. The rising use of plug assist forming products in food packaging is projected to boost the market growth. Packaging materials formed using this method have a uniform wall thickness with a reduced starting gauge and hence helps protect the product within the packaging.

AMUT Group manufactured a thermoforming machine whose properties include servo-driven plug assist on lower and upper mold platens, good mold clamping and cutting force performance, and various heat oven configurations. This machine is designed to handle materials such as PVC, PLA, PP, EPS, PS, HIPS, OPS, CPET, RPET, APET, and PET.

Application Insights

Food packaging was the leading application segment in 2020 with over 42% revenue share. Thermoformed plastics are widely used in the food industry for the packaging of fruits; vegetables; confectionery products; meat, poultry, and fish; and prepared meals. Thermoformed packaging is also suitable for use in the medical and healthcare sector as it comprises a range of materials that help enhance the appearance of the final product. Packaging products used in the healthcare and medical sector include medical devices, medical trays, procedure trays, pharmaceutical packaging, and protective packaging.

Global thermoformed plastics market share

Automotive is projected to be the fastest-growing application segment over the forecast period. Thermoformed plastics are preferred for electric vehicles as they are durable and lightweight. Increasing demand for automotive panels, liners, and vehicle parts is further expected to drive the segment growth over the forecast period. The University of Delaware Center for Composite Materials (UD-CCM), in partnership with the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS), effectively designed a product to meet structural and crash safety requirements using thermoplastic composites.

Regional Insights

North America dominated the global market with a share of around 54.0% in terms of revenue in 2020. Rapid industrialization and advancements in the packaging industry are projected to drive the thermoformed plastics market in the region over the forecast period. The growing number of manufacturers and suppliers of thermoformed plastic products in this region is further expected to drive the regional market. The U.S. is a significant market for thermoformed plastics, followed by Canada.

Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest-growing regional market over the forecast period. Emerging economies in the region such as India and China have been experiencing strong economic growth. China is the largest producer and supplier of thermoformed plastics equipment using various types of technologies in this region. Rapid urbanization and increasing per capita disposable income in the region is projected to drive the regional market over the forecast period. In addition, the growth of the automotive market and the subsequent demand for lightweight components to improve the efficiency of the vehicle are anticipated to drive the regional demand for thermoformed plastics.

Thermoformed Plastics Market Share Insights

The global thermoformed plastics market is characterized by the presence of various key players, such as Pactive LLC, Sonoco Products Company, CM Packaging, Genpak LLC, and Anchor Packaging among other players operating across the globe. The global players face intense competition from each other and regional players who have strong distribution networks and good knowledge about suppliers and regulations.

The competition of the market is based on the product quality offered and the technology used for the production of thermoformed plastics by the manufacturers. Major players compete on the basis of application development capability and form strategic partnerships with regional players to minimize the risk of expanding into a new marketplace. Global manufacturers are investing in technology to increase their market offerings, giving them a competitive edge over the other players. Some of the industry participants profiled in this report include:

  • Pactiv LLC

  • Genpak LLC

  • Sonoco Products Company

  • CM Packaging

  • Placon Corporation

  • Anchor Packaging LLC

  • Brentwood Industries

  • Greiner Packaging GmbH

  • Dongguan Ditai Plastic Products Co., Ltd

  • Palram Americas Ltd.

Report Scope

Report Attribute


Market size value in 2021

USD 12.6 billion

Revenue forecast in 2028

USD 16.4 billion

Growth rate

CAGR of 3.9% from 2021 to 2028

Base year for estimation


Historical data


Forecast period


Quantitative units

Revenue in USD thousand, volume in thousand liters, and CAGR from 2021 to 2028

Report coverage

Revenue forecast, volume forecast, company ranking, competitive landscape, growth factors, and trends

Segments covered

Product, process, application, region

Regional scope

North America; Europe; Asia Pacific; Central & South America; Middle East & Africa

Country scope

U.S.; Canada; Mexico; Germany; U.K.; France; Italy; China; India; Japan

Key companies profiled

Pactiv LLC; Genpak LLC; Sonoco Products Company; CM Packaging; Placon Corporation; Anchor Packaging LLC; Brentwood Industries; Greiner Packaging GmbH; Dongguan Ditai Plastic Products Co., Ltd; Palram Americas Ltd.

Customization scope

Free report customization (equivalent up to 8 analysts working days) with purchase. Addition or alteration to country, regional & segment scope.

Pricing and purchase options

Avail customized purchase options to meet your exact research needs. Explore purchase options

Covered in the Report

This report forecasts revenue and volume growth at global, regional, and country levels and provides an analysis of the latest industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2017 to 2028. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global thermoformed plastics market report on the basis of product, process, application, and region:

  • Product Outlook (Volume, Kilotons; Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)

    • Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA)

    • Bio-degradable polymers

    • Polyethylene (PE)

    • Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)

    • Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC)

    • High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS)

    • Polystyrene (PS)

    • Polypropylene (PP)

  •  Process Outlook (Volume, Kilotons; Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)

    • Plug Assist Forming

    • Thick Gauge thermoforming

    • Thin Gauge Thermoforming

    • Vacuum Snapback

  • Application Outlook (Volume, Kilotons; Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)

    • Healthcare & Medical

    • Food Packaging

    • Electrical & Electronics

    • Automotive Packaging

    • Construction

    • Consumer Goods & Appliances

    • Others

  • Regional Outlook (Volume, Kilotons; Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)

    • North America

      • The U.S.

      • Canada

      • Mexico

    • Europe

      • The U.K.

      • Germany

      • France

      • Italy

    • Asia Pacific

      • China

      • Japan

      • India

    • Central & South America

    • Middle East & Africa

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