Metal Packaging in Asia Pacific

November 2021

Metal packaging continues to be an important, and growing, pack type in Asia Pacific, led by metal beverage cans for soft drinks and beer, which account for the bulk of metal packaging in the region. While metal packaging was negatively impacted by the pandemic in 2020, it had been recording positive growth in the earlier years of the historic period, driven by alcoholic drinks packaging, with further positive growth expected over the forecast period.

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Key Findings

Metal beverage cans continue to dominate metal packaging

Metal beverage cans, widely used for alcoholic drinks and soft drinks, make up the bulk of metal packaging in Asia Pacific. Other types of metal beverage packaging remain relatively small, with metal food cans, still widely used in packaged food and dog and cat food, having much lower sales than metal beverage cans.

China remains the key growth driver in the region

China saw the greatest absolute volume growth in metal packaging over the historic period, driven by alcoholic drinks, but also other categories such as hot drinks. Increasing dog and cat populations, as well as an ever rising share for prepared food, means that metal packaging in dog and cat food is seeing particularly strong growth in China.

Convenience and versatility favour other pack types…

Competition from other pack types, such as rigid plastic or flexible packaging, continues to impact metal packaging in Asia Pacific. Rigid plastic packaging can offer affordability and convenience, while flexible packaging can be used to offer consumers lightweight and versatile packaging solutions.

Small pack sizes continue to dominate

Smaller pack sizes, in particular 101-300ml and 300-500ml, continue to dominate, and have been on the rise. Dominated by metal beverage cans, single-serve pack sizes continue to be popular, reflecting on-the-go consumption trends.

…but metal tins can offer a premium image

However, metal can fight back as a practical but premium solution. For example, in coffee, Illy is sticking to metal tins with a premium positioning in China. Its fresh coffee is stored with nitrogen to maintain the aroma and quality as if it were just roasted. Meanwhile, UCC has launched Largo speciality coffee in metal tins that it claims can retain the product’s freshness for four years.

Sustainability concerns yet to become a major growth driver of metal packaging

While in other regions concern about plastic waste will be one of the growth drivers of metal packaging in the future, in Asia Pacific, other issues, such as low cost and convenience, are currently deemed more important by manufacturers and consumers. However, increasing government efforts to reduce and manage packaging waste could help to drive growth in metal packaging in the future.


Key findings

Regional Overview

Asia Pacific remains behind North America for metal packaging
Metal beverage cans the dominant pack type in Asia Pacific
Decline in metal usage seen during the pandemic in 2020
No change in dominance of metal beverage cans
China and Japan dominate metal beverage can use in the region
Strong 2015-2020 growth for beverage cans in South Korea and Vietnam
Strong growth for metal bottles over the historic period
Catastrophic loss of metal tin baby food sales in Hong Kong in 2020

Top Applications

Switch to beverage cans in alcoholic drinks boosting metal performance
Metal beverage cans losing sales in RTD coffee and drinking milk
Metal bottles enjoy dynamic growth in Chinese beer
Metal tins struggle slightly in 2020 as a more upmarket pack type
Food packaging is the dominant industry for closures
Easy-open can ends continue to gain share
Metal beer kegs driving growth in the 5,000ml+ size band
Declining sales for drinking milk products in metal beverage cans

Forecast Projections

Chinese growth will help drive the metal packaging performance
Japan to continue registering declining sales of metal packaging
Metal packaging will stagnate year-on-year over 2020-2025…
…with Chinese use of this pack type in decline in the forecast period
India to overtake Japan in beauty and personal care metal packaging
Metal aerosol cans will continue to shape the overall performance
Indonesia will remain the biggest market in 2020-2025…
…and will also record the most dynamic growth in metal packaging
China dominates dog and cat food metal packaging…
…and will help drive regional growth in 2020-2025

Country Snapshots

China: Market Context
China: Pack Types by Top 10 Categories
Hong Kong, China: Market Context
Hong Kong, China: Pack Types by Top 10 Categories
India: Market Context
India: Pack Types by Top 10 Categories
Indonesia: Market Context
Indonesia: Pack Types by Top 10 Categories
Japan: Market Context
Japan: Pack Types by Top 10 Categories
Malaysia: Market Context
Malaysia: Pack Types by Top 10 Categories
Philippines: Market Context
Philippines: Pack Types by Top 10 Categories
Singapore: Market Context
Singapore: Pack Types by Top 10 Categories
South Korea: Market Context
South Korea: Pack Types by Top 10 Categories
Thailand: Market Context
Thailand: Pack Types by Top 10 Categories
Vietnam: Market Context
Vietnam: Pack Types by Top 10 Categories


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