US Demand for Plastic Foams to Reach 8.8 Billion

US Demand for Plastic Foams to Reach 8.8 Billion

CLEVELAND, OH – July 12, 2016 – US demand for plastic foams is forecast to rise 2.3 percent annually to 8.8 billion pounds in 2020, valued at $25.2 billion. Growth will decelerate from the rate posted during the 2010-2015 period. The construction sector is anticipated to lead growth prospects, which will see additional opportunities for foam insulation products bolstered by increasing construction activity. Rising consumer spending levels will bode well for foams used in household products such as bedding, furniture, and appliances. In the motor vehicle market, advances will slow in tandem with slowing motor vehicle production and by trends favoring smaller, more fuel efficient automobiles that require less foam on a per vehicle basis. These and other trends are presented in Plastic Foams a new study from The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based industry research firm.

Packaging will remain the leading outlet for plastic foams through 2020, accounting for nearly one-third of total volume. This sector tends to be less cyclical than other industries due to the significance of nondurable goods such as food, and will see steady but below average gains through the forecast period. Advances will be constrained by ongoing environmental concerns regarding the disposal of packaging foams, which have resulted in the establishment of bans against foam foodservice containers in many localities. Nevertheless, demand will continue to be supported by the cost and performance advantages of plastic foams over alternative materials, and by opportunities for foam used to protect delicate items -- including temperature sensitive pharmaceutical and medical products -- during transport. Moreover, efforts to promote sustainability will generate greater interest in biodegradable packaging foams.

RELATED Spray Foam Insulation and California’s Goal for Zero Net Energy, Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance Encourages Proper Insulation and Seal of Buildings to Reduce Asthma Triggers, Spray Foam Coalition Sponsors Event to Inspire Next Generation of Architects, Builders, and Entrepreneurs

Polyurethane represents the leading resin in the plastic foams market. Rigid polyurethane foam will remain the dominant product type in this segment. Demand gains through 2020 will be based on growth in construction activity and by changes in building codes and construction practices that call for structures to use energy more efficiently. Rigid polyurethane is one of the most effective materials available for roof and wall insulation, insulated windows and doors, and air barrier sealants. However, polyurethane foam insulation will continue to face competition from fiberglass and polystyrene foam which are lower cost alternatives. Flexible polyurethane foam will remain in high demand through 2020 based on healthy growth in the bedding and carpet underlay markets, where it is valued for its cushioning properties.

Polystyrene accounted for over one-third of demand for plastic foam in 2015 and will maintain a sizable share of the market based on its excellent protective and insulative capabilities, moisture resistance, and low cost. However, advances in the large packaging sector will be restrained by ongoing solid waste disposal concerns regarding the use of disposable foam products and rising competition from paper-based materials, which are viewed as more eco-friendly. Through 2020, expanded polystyrene foam is projected to see more rapid gains than its extruded counterpart, stemming primarily from its use in insulation, molded foam protective packaging, and insulated shipping containers. Expanded polystyrene geofoam, which serves as a cost-efficient and lightweight alternative to traditional fill materials in construction applications, is predicted to exhibit especially rapid growth, albeit from a relatively small base.


In Vitro Diagnostic (IVD) Test Packaging (published 06/2016, 174 pages) is available for $5300 from The Freedonia Group. For further details or to arrange an interview with the analyst, please contact Corinne Gangloff by phone 440.684.9600 or email Information may also be obtained through

About The Freedonia Group, a division of – The Freedonia Group is a leading international industrial research company publishing more than 100 studies annually. Since 1985 we have provided research to customers ranging in size from global conglomerates to one-person consulting firms. More than 90% of the industrial companies in the Fortune 500 use Freedonia Group research to help with their strategic planning.

Contact Details

Name: Corinne Gangloff

Email: Email Us

Phone No: +1 440.684.9600

Disqus website name not provided.