The polypropylene market is driven by the rising demand for this polymer in the packaging industry and increasing consumption of nonwoven polypropylene fibers in various sectors. Often shortened to PP, it is a plastic widely used in chemical and food containers, electronic goods, electrical insulation, pipes, rigid and flexible packaging, carpets, ropes, concrete reinforcements, and even automotive components. Moreover, it is used to manufacture medical devices and components due to its chemical resistance, toughness, elasticity, fatigue resistance, transmissivity, and insulating properties.
Of the two types of PP, homopolymer dominates the polypropylene market because it is highly rigid, tolerates extreme temperatures and corrosive chemicals, and performs well in thermoforming applications. As a result, it has been approved by the USDA, FDA, and National Science Foundation (NSF) for use in plenums & manifolds, orthotic & prosthetic devices, plating & anodizing process equipment, pump components, storage tanks, secondary containers, valve bodies, packaging products, metal finishing products, chemical processing & storage devices, washers, and medical devices.
Based on end user, the largest share of the polypropylene market is held by the packaging category. Packaging has been the largest consumer of all kinds of plastics, with Plastics Europe estimating the industry’s share in the global plastic consumption in 2020 at over 40%. Within this sector, PP is majorly used for food packaging, especially when the eatable needs to be in direct contact with the package. With the rising disposable income of people pushing up the demand for packaged food, PP consumption is increasing.
Although the polypropylene market faced huge challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the closure of industries, new healthcare-related applications kept players afloat. With the increasing case count and general awareness on the prevention of the infection by covering the nose and face, the demand for nonwoven PP face masks boomed. The demand rose so much that almost all companies faced challenges in meeting it. Therefore, many firms that, earlier, had nothing to do with such PPE started producing it in large quantities, thereby driving the consumption of PP.
Therefore, with the rapid pace of population growth and urbanization, the demand for PP and other plastics will burgeon.