Demand for plastic bottles continues to grow in the United States: Plastic bottles and jars represent approximately 75% percent of all plastic containers by weight.

That was a top-level takeaway from a new Plastics Market Watch report, “Plastic Bottles Today: Innovating to Reach Today’s Consumer,” released by the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS, Washington, DC).

Plastics Bottles Market WatchGrowth is projected to see continued increases across products and sectors, including beverage, food and water, household, pharmaceutical and automotive chemicals and fluids.

Last year, for the first time ever, bottled water consumption exceeded carbonated soft drinks in sales in the U.S., growing 8.5%, according to the Beverage Marketing Corp. Further, plastic accounted for 41.2% of all beverage packaging units in 2016 according to BMC. Given the increased consumer demand for plastic bottles, PLASTICS’ new study is a timely look into the trends that shape the plastic bottling sector.

“The bottling segment of our industry is projected to grow six percent over the next three years,” said Mark Garrison, PLASTICS’ senior vice president of membership and business development. “

Recognising this upward trend, we’ll unveil the Bottle Zone at NPE2018: The Plastics Show, as it will prove an invaluable resource for companies that work with PET pre-forms, blow molding, molds, labeling, filling, closures, design and inspection equipment.”

Other highlights from the Executive Summary:

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) currently represent about 86% percent of the plastic container market;

One of the biggest PET bottle packaging drivers is for single-serve water, which is increasingly displacing sodas, and predicted to increase in sales by 6% annually;

For the past six years, plastic machinery shipments have increased year-over-year;

The total value of primary equipment shipments for all of 2015 was $1.29 billion, a gain of 4.8% vs. 2014.

The study provides insight for the entire plastics industry and supply chain, as well as brands and other stakeholders, into the growth and usage of plastics for bottling and containers.

Bottlers are currently using polyethylene terephthalate (PET) to develop lighter packaging that saves costs in raw polymers, energy and transportation. The PET bottle designs are also more attractive to consumers in packaging and sustainability.

The Report attributes the incredible growth of PET to the high ranking of bottling in terms of plastics industry employment numbers, dollar value of shipments and capital expenditures. With bottling’s rapid rise, it’s vital that manufacturers stay on top of key issues, challenges and advances affecting bottling.