The three dominating regions do so because of the continued production of new types of devices that reliably need specialized packaging. The United States leads the market in growth. Western Europe and Japan packaging demand also benefits from the upgrading of government and industry standards covering the barrier, security, and tracking properties of medical device packaging.
Meanwhile, growth in India, Mexico, China, and the more wealthy African and Middle Eastern nations will show the fastest growth in packaging demand, the report said. Diversification of markets, expansion and stricter regulation of medical product industries are raising the quality and functional requirements of containers and accessories in these regions. China is expected to provide the largest and broadest sales opportunities for medical device containers and related accessories due to burgeoning domestic and export markets for its medical goods.
Pouches and trays will continue to lead sales among container types, driven by the demand for cost effective, infection-resistant and security-enhanced formats. Pouches are predicted to reflect advances in strength, puncture resistance and barrier properties, which will expand applications in the packaging of small- to medium-sized supplies and devices, including sharps. Multiple compartment trays will also grow, said the report, because they “virtually eliminate the risk of staff errors and the spread of infectious agents during the preparation of products for surgery and various other patient procedures.” Clamshell packs (pictured left) will also fare well in the global marketplace as they match or exceed all the advantages of rigid trays while offering greater protection against product damage during transport and storage.
On the negative end of the market, bags and boxes will decline in demand or experience slower growth, Freedonia predicted. Bags, which are used mostly in the packaging of large and odd-shaped instruments and supplies, will lose growth momentum as advances in technology promote the downsizing and miniaturization of more biomedical products. The global market for medical device boxes will expand at a slowing pace because cost saving considerations will erode secondary packaging applications.
Among other medical device containers, blister packs and glass vials will post the fastest growth. Increasing use in contact lens packaging will boost the market for blister packs. Glass vials will remain the principal container employed for diagnostic reagents and related substances.
As the packaging market grows, so does the market for package accessories. The global market for medical device packaging accessories will reach $5.2 billion in 2017, according to the report. High visibility labels and tamper-evident and other security accessories will see the fastest gains as regulatory demands change.
About 2,000 companies produce medical device packaging globally. Based on 2012 revenues, the nine largest competitors—Amcor, Bemis, Chesapeake, MeadWestvaco, Clondalkin Group, Wihuri, Constantia Flexibles, Printpack, and Sealed Air—supplied 16 percent of the $12.9 billion merchant market, while the value of captive packaging production by medical device makers such as Becton Dickinson and Johnson & Johnson stood at $6.4 billion.
Image of thermoformed clamshell pack courtesy of Healthcare Packaging. The package was created for Wright Medical.