High-Performance Films

Published - Dec 2003| Analyst - Melvin Schlechter| Code - PLS039C
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Report Highlights

  • The North American market for high-performance films is estimated to be 1.3 billion pounds in 2003 and is expected to rise at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 3.1% to 1.5 billion pounds in 2008.
  • Based on volume, polyesters, nylons, and polyolefin-based high-performance films account for almost 95% of the total
  • Lower volume, higher-priced films become account for about 26% of the value, but only 5% based of the volume.
  • In regard to applications, packaging (mostly foods), photographic/ reprographic, and magnetic media make up about 62% of total film volume.
  • Polyesters make up some 70% of the volume, but this percentage is slipping slightly.


High-performance plastic films have become an important niche market in that they are specialty products at premium prices. Consumption is driven by end-use application. Although volumes of high-performance plastic films are relatively low compared to commodity films, the value of this market is disproportionately high, especially with most prices in excess of $2/lb and many others over $5/lb and even higher.

Furthermore, the high-performance film is global in scope. Industry leaders have worldwide marketing (and sometimes manufacturing) capabilities, held either independently or via joint ventures with local companies.

Performance film manufacture differs from most other segments of the U.S. polymer industry in that film fabrication is most often vertically integrated with resin production. Most other plastic products are produced by converters and molders, or by end users themselves, from bulk resin purchased from the large chemical and petrochemical companies that manufacture the bulk resin.

Large scale manufacture of plastic films is fairly capital-intensive although many companies that do not manufacture resins are significant film converters. There are, however, several large commodity polyolefin film converters who manufacture bulk resins.

This timely BCC technical market report discusses, analyzes and forecast the North American markets for high-performance films by material types and major applications. The is, however, global in scope and its leaders have worldwide marketing (and sometimes manufacturing) capabilities, held either independently or via joint ventures with local companies. The materials and products are used in wide and diverse markets and as such, this study is of interest to a wide group of organizations and individuals involved in the development, design, manufacture, sale and use of these films, as well as government officials.


The report contains coverage of:


  • The following groups of materials: polyesters (nearly all PET), nylons, polycarbonates, polyolefins, polycarbonates, fluoropolymers and polyimides
  • A group of smaller volume films comprised of:
    polyethylene naphthalate (PEN), liquid crystal polymers (LCPs), and polyketones
  • Environmental and regulatory issues
  • End-use application markets, with forecasts to 2008
  • Films by material types, with sections devoted to each class of high-performance films, also with forecasts to 2008, and
  • Important suppliers, in profile.



Extensive searches were made of the literature and the Internet, including many of the leading trade publications, as well as technical compendia, government publications, and information from trade and other associations. Other product and market information was obtained from the principals involved in the industry. Other sources included directories, articles and Internet sites.


Mel Schlechter is a research analyst covering polymers and chemicals. He has over 30 years in the chemical industry, and specializes in plastics market research. Mr. Schlechter has been with BCC for over 10 years. B.S., Chemistry; M.S., Organic Chemistry; M.B.A., Marketing.

Table of Contents & Pricing

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Published - Jan-2000| Analyst - Charles Forman| Code - PLS039B

Report Highlights

  • The high-performance films market is made up of six major resin classes: polyesters (almost exclusively PET films), nylons, polyolefin-based films such as EVOH and PVdC, polycarbonates, fluoropolymers, and polyimides. Also, we discuss and forecast markets for an additional category of newer films, most of which are still developmental; we call this last group "definable other" performance films.
  • The total market in 1998 is estimated to be about 1.1 billion pounds, which is forecast to grow to almost 1.4 billion pounds by 2003. The value of this market is multibillion dollars; based on the prices of bulk resins it is about $1 billion in 1998 and more than $1.4 billion in 2003. Since films, whose prices vary widely even when fabricated from the same polymer, cost on average two to three times the price of the base resin, the actual dollar value of the performance films market is probably more like $3 billion today and up to $5 billion in 2003.
  • Polyesters, the dominant performance films, find use in most applications markets and are virtually alone in such end uses as magnetic media and photo/reprographic films. Their market of 825 million pounds in 1998 should grow to about 968 million pounds in 2003.

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