Eastern Europe is the fourth biggest region in terms of rigid plastic in the world. It has been driven by the strong performance of PET bottles in bottled water. The health and wellness trend is the main reason behind this growth as consumers seek clean hydration. COVID-19 impacted consumer goods differently, but across each space bigger pack types rose to match consumers’ demand for affordability. By 2022, pre-COVID-19 consumption habits are expected to start to reappear.
Eastern Europe accounted for 7% of world retail volume sales of rigid plastic in 2019. The region recorded one of the fastest growth rates globally in rigid plastic during 2014-2019, owing to an increase in PET bottles consumption accelerated by the health and wellness trend and increased bottled water per capita consumption.
In fact, PET bottles are the dominant pack type in rigid plastic in Eastern Europe. It is, unsurprisingly, most commonly used for soft drinks packaging, especially bottled water. It is set to continue to post strong growth as the health and wellness trend expands, and as consumers have become more conscious about their health as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thin wall plastic containers and HDPE bottles are most used in yoghurt and sour milk products and other dairy. They have been benefiting from new launches and growing appreciation for the healthy properties of yoghurt and sour milk products in general. HDPE has witnessed the rise of bigger formats, particularly 125g, 155g, 200g and 300g to match consumers’ demand for convenience. COVID-19 has also accelerated the rise of bigger formats across industries in order to match consumers’ demand for greater affordability as they suffer from reduced purchasing power and economic uncertainty.
Each of the five discussed industries reacted differently to the impact of COVID-19: whilst some benefited from it due to increased time spent at home and the transfer of consumption occasions (dog and cat food, food, home care) some suffered from it (beauty and personal care, beverages) as the transfer of occasions from away-from-home to at-home was limited and the need to maintain physical appearance felt secondary due to lockdown and limited social interactions outside of the household. By the end of 2022, industries that were impacted by COVID-19 are set to readopt their pre-COVID-19 consumption patterns as consumers aim to go back to the “old norm”.
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