Demand from the packaging and healthcare segments has kept the polyolefin market afloat amid COVID-19, according to analyst firm GlobalData.

The global polyolefin market is expected to contract in 2020 due to weaker end-market demand in areas such as construction, automotive and manufacturing. However, weak demand fueled by the pandemic is partially offset by increased demand from sectors such as packaging, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and healthcare.

While some industries are struggling, the significant increase in the use of polyolefins in the FMCG and packaging sectors may be related to consumer behavior. Carmen Bryan, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, notes: “The COVID-19 pandemic has led many consumers to become more cautious when shopping for food and convenience products. Many have returned to more traditional packaging materials such as PET, despite persisting environmental problems as they are considered safer and more hygienic. In fact, 53% of respondents to the June GlobalData survey said they were concerned about the safety of product packaging in the face of the pandemic. According to the October survey, 50% of respondents were worried about this issue. This speaks to the emergence of a new trend towards the return of the popularity of disposable plastics, which reliably protect and seal food and drinks. ”

John Paul Somavarapu, Oil & Gas Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “With the gradual recovery, demand for polyethylene and polypropylene is likely to pick up by the end of 2020 and continue to rise from 2021.”