Smithers study bets on reusable and refillable packaging

A brand-new market study from Smithers – The Future of Refillable and Reusable Packaging to 2027 - states that the market will reach USD42 billion in 2022, up from USD35.1 billion in 2017. As the industry looks to new concepts to realise true circularity in packaging, Smithers forecasts future growth at 5% year-on-year reaching a value of USD53.5 billion in 2027.

25 Jul 2022 | By Janhavi Sisodia

The report examines four business-to-consumer packaging refill and reuse models

The global refillable and reusable packaging sales represent approximately 4% of global packaging sales in 2021. Smithers sees growth trajectory in the vertical.

The report argues that "mature business-to-consumer refillable and reusable packaging market is large, well established and is growing at a relatively low rate. This segment includes mainly recovered glass bottles, which are used to produce new glass bottles; refillable and reusable glass bottles; refillable and reusable PET bottles; and reusable water bottles made from plastic, metal and glass."

In addition, "the business-to-business industrial/transit market reconditioned the packaging market and is also large, mature and growing at a relatively low rate. This segment includes reconditioned steel drums, rigid intermediate bulk containers and plastic drums."

Smithers’ analysis states reuse and refill is a familiar business model in beverage retailing, especially for glass bottles. For this reason even in 2022, glass packaging for beverages remains the dominant segment, representing over 75% of all reuse refill packs.

Other segments are still at a nascent phase. Brand owners in food, cosmetics & personal care, home care, and other beverage types are investing heavily in reuse/refill concepts featuring more durable packaging design for repeat use and prolonged handling. Strengthened by the experience of Covid-19 and the rise in e-commerce subscription sales, Smithers forecasts each of these new segments will see growth in excess of 30% year-on-year across the next five years.

The global refillable and reusable packaging sales was estimated at USD35 billion in 2017 and grew at an average annual rate of 3.4% to USD40.1 billion by 2021.

The Smithers report is authored by David Platt, a business researcher and writer with a broad range of experience in the plastics and packaging industry. He has authored over 50 market reports for Smithers on subjects including global packaging, rigid plastic packaging, PET packaging, flexible packaging, bioplastics, specialty plastics, high-performance packaging film, and pouches, caps & closures. He has participated in consultancy projects and has authored two books for Smithers, and writes for Sustainable Plastics magazine.