Blow Moulded Bottles in Europe

Blow Moulded Bottles in Europe

Date of publication: April 2014

Overview:  This report is an update of AMI Consulting's continuous research, providing a detailed review of the end-use applications and market trends for plastic blow moulded bottles in sizes up to 5 litres. It highlights the opportunities available to the European industry for further penetration and packaging innovation, but also threats.

The industry had enjoyed a period of strong growth in 2006/8 but the effects of the economic recession resulted in significant de-stocking.  Since then, the market witnessed a fragile recovery, influenced by increased cost and environmental pressures. Emphasis on packaging weight reduction is adversely affecting polymer demand in tonnes but drives the material and additive suppliers to innovate and provide better-performance materials. Packaging recyclability and convenience continues to fuel demand growth. Facilitated by the expansion of centralised retail distribution and technological advances, traditional packaging media such as glass, metal and paper are under increasing pressure from the superior functionality offered by plastic alternatives. The ability of plastic bottles to enhance brand modernity, aesthetics and usability, and offer differentiation is driving demand.

Bottle producers require a clear business strategy in exploiting the forward opportunity profitably, based on:

  • Assessing the scale of demand
  • Understanding the growth potential
  • Defining a return target
  • Exploiting internal competences, and
  • Appreciating the competitive dynamics and degree of threat.

This report demonstrates where the new development opportunities are emerging, giving both polymer suppliers and converters an opening to lead the next development phase for blow-moulded bottles in Europe. The study aims to support the development of robust participation strategies to meet the challenges of all sectors of the blow moulded bottles market in Europe, by equipping industry players with an enhanced understanding of growth dynamics, market drivers, structural change and competitive pressures.

The report is intended to challenge some industry beliefs and to stimulate blow moulders to review their strategic direction, organisational structure and innovation programme.

The study provides a detailed assessement of the current size of the blow moulded bottle market (5 litres and less in size) in Europe (EU28+ Switzerland and Norway) and gives a forecast to the year 2018, designed to assist companies in their strategic thinking.

The quantitative analysis of the blow moulded market by bottle size, end-use market, country/region and resin type is complemented by qualitative insights.  The insights include a detailed examination of inter-material competition and the impact of material choice on technology change and vice versa.  Advances in polymer perormance are supported by the development of new processing technologies and developments in packaging formats.  Added-value barrier technologies penetrate certain end-use applications, such as UHT milk.

With growing price pressures, the supply chain is driven towards cost reduction and maximising operational efficiency.  The report details the chnages in the supply chain and structural change.

Geographic scope and segmentation: The study covers EU28+3 countries with analysis of the market segmented in the following countries/regions:

  • West Europe: France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, Spain, OWE cumulated (Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg,\Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Switzerland, Greece, Portugal, Austria)
  • Central and East Europe: Poland, OCE cumulated (Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Hungary, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia)

Product scope and segmentation: The market figures used within the study reflect production of packaged goods an exclude bulk and draght volumes.  The figures also contain demand for packaged goods consumed within catering and other non-domestic channels such as hotels and hair salons in sizes of 5 litres and below. For the purposes of this study, the major end-use applications reviewed are:


  • Carbonated soft drinks
  • Bottled water - still and sparkling, including flavoured and functional variants
  • Juices, nectars, juice drinks
  • Still drinks  - including juice drinks with fruit contents lower than 25%, iced teas/coffee, functional drinks, etc.
  • Beer
  • Other alcoholic beverages - including wine, cider, spirits FABs etc.

Liquid Food

  • White milk and milk-based drinks, such as fermented dairy drinks, drinking yoghurts, milk and protein shakes, buttermilk, kefir, pro- and prebiotics
  • Edible oils
  • Other liquid food, such as vinegar, soy sauce, soya milk, RTD baby milk, food additives, etc.

Solid food

  • Sauces,condiments and dressings, including tomato ketchup, mayonnaise, salad dressings, mustard and other liquid condiments
  • Spreads (both sweet and savoury variants), such as jam, syrup, honey, chocolate spread, marmite, peanut butter and sandwiches pastes
  • Other applications, such as baby food, preserved fruit and vegetables, dry beverages, powdered milk, pickles, ready meals, etc.

Household chemicals

  • Laundry detergents (fabric softeners, washing liquids, ironing enhancers, etc.)
  • Dishwashing liquids
  • Household cleaning products (surface cleaners, shower & bath cleaning aids, furniture polish, floor polish, air-fresheners, window cleaners, etc.)
  • Domestic chemicals (bleaches, wet wipes, automotive, DIY products, gardening products, etc.)

Toiletries and cosmetics:

  • Hair care (shampoos, conditioners, hair styling products)
  • Skin & suncare (face and body creams, lotions, milks, butters, facial masks, facial scrubs, etc)
  • Bath & shower products (shower, gels, body soaps, bath soak products, etc.)
  • Liquid handsoap
  • Other bottled toiletries and cosmetics (make-up, self-tanning, hair-removal products, oral care, deodrant, nail care, etc.).


  • Over-the-counter medicine (OTC)
  • Prescription drugs/other pharmaceuticals.

Industrial chemicals

Bottle size segmentation: The market data has been analysed in six bands as follows:

  • 0<250ml
  • 250<500ml
  • 500ml<1 litre
  • 1 litre<1.5 litre
  • 1.5<2litres
  • 2-5litres

Demand for blow moulded bottles is counted at the point at which bottles are filled. Consequently, for the purposes of this analysis, PET volume is counted at the point where the finished bottle is filled rather than where the pre-form is injection moulded.  Preform production is reviewed separately.

Material scope and segmentation: The study quantifies the demand for blow moulded bottles made from the following polymer groups:

  • HDPE
  • LDPE
  • PET
  • PP
  • PVC
  • Recyclate (rPET and rHDPE)
  • Other

Technology scope and segmentation: There are several blow moulding technology variants:

  • Extrusion blow moulding
  • Co-extrusion blow moulding
  • Injectionblow moulding
  • Injection stretch blow moulding (single-stage or two-stage)

The report provides the European capacity statistics as well as refers to these technologies in the contextual analysis.

Units: Tonnages are expressed in metric tonnes. Numbers of bottles are reported in million units. 

Reporting basis: The study provides data for 2005, 2009, 2013 with forecasts to 2018. To ensure consistency all bottle unit data is reported in millions, polymer volume data in thousand tonnes. 

Data developed: The study includes tables giving:

  • Demand for blow moulded bottles (million units)       
    • By end use application
    • By bottle size
    • By country
  • Consumption of polymer for blow moulded bottles (thousand tonnes)       
    • By end use application
    • By bottle size
    • By country
  • Penetration of plastics within each end use market (number of units, % plastics, volume in plastics)
  • Production/consumption of end-use applications (million litres)

The study covers EU28+3 countries with analysis of the market segmented in the following countries/regions:

  • West Europe: France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, Spain, OWE cumulated (Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Switzerland, Greece, Portugal, Austria)
  • Central and East Europe: Poland, OCE cumulated (Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Hungary, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia).

The report is supplied as a downloadable PDF with an enterprise-wide license agreement. One printed hard copy of the report is also provided.

To receive a proposal, sample pages or for further information please click the Enquire/Order button above or contact Martyna Fong on or



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