According to the market analyst, Asia accounted for the largest share of the packaging market in 2014, followed by North America and Western Europe.
Growth in packaging has remained reliably strong for the region and there is still potential for growth as the consumption of cosmetics and other fast moving consumer goods grows.
“Following the financial crisis of 2008/09 that caused a significant decline in global sales of packaging, the market has picked up somewhat in recent years, although it does face continued challenges,” says co-author of the report, Paul Boyce.
“Continued urbanisation, growth in cost per package, sustainability and the growth in the consumer class in emerging markets are all factors that are forecast to drive value growth going forward," he adds.
Regarding packaging categories, flexible plastic was the fastest growing globally in 2014 and will continue in this way in the run up to 2020, followed by the rigid and board packaging segments.
Sustainability - 'an increasingly prominent issue'
Smithers Pira reports sustainability to have become an important issue in the packaging industry with one of the main developments in recent years being the increased incorporation of bio-based PET into brands packaging supply chain.
This has enhanced the focus and presence of light-weighting upon the industry, becoming a common trend for packaging converters to reduce the weight of their products in order to reduce costs associated with transportation, reduce CO2 emissions, and to help create a more sustainable supply chain.
In the last 20 years, the weight of an average 50cl plastic bottle has come down by around 50 per cent. Light-weighting is also occurring in other markets such as metal, glass, and board.
Shoppers becoming less passive towards eco-friendly products
It's nothing new to say that Asia's consumers prioritize price and texture when choosing and indeed remaining loyal to a beauty brand. However, shoppers are becoming less passive towards eco-friendly products, increasingly prioritizing greener formulations and packaging concepts.
In 2014, market researcher Nielsen reported online consumers across 60 countries as willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact.
Of those findings, the firm reported 'the propensity to buy socially responsible brands' is strongest in Asia-Pacific (64%), Latin America (63%) and Middle East/Africa (63%). The numbers for North America and Europe were 42 and 40 per cent, respectively.
And while many parts of Asia still have a way to go in equipping themselves to completely switch to greener processes, Japan is reported to be leading the way, striving to be more ecological or socially responsible in its efforts.
This includes sustainability claims on packaging or actively promoting greener actions through marketing efforts.