Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) Market

2021 Analysis and Review: Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) Market by Product– Rigid & Flexible IBCs for 2021 – 2031

Intermediate Bulk Container Market Snapshot

Research conducted by Future Market Insights (FMI) shows that the intermediate bulk container market is expected to register positive growth, with the overall valuation forecast to reach US$ 21 Bn in 2021. Sales registered in the market is expected to rise at 6.8% CAGR between 2021 and 2031.

Despite suspension of industrial activities amid COVID-19, intermediate bulk containers demand will surge 2021 onwards. Global volume is forecast to reach 681 Mn Units   by the end of 2021. Also, the market has been anticipated to increase at 5.7% CAGR over the forecast period, in terms of volume

Key Points Covered in Intermediate Bulk Container Market Study

  • Market Estimates and Forecast 2014-2031
  • Key Drivers and Restraints Impacting Market Growth
  • Segment-Wise, Country-Wise, And Region-Wise Analysis
  • Competition Mapping and Benchmarking
  • Market Share Analysis
  • Key Product Innovations and Regulatory Climate
  • COVID-19 Impact On Intermediate Bulk Container Market And How To Navigate
  • Recommendation On Key Winning Strategies

2014-2020 Intermediate Bulk Container Market Outlook Compared to 2021-2031 Forecast

The need for transportation of a large volume of consignments in pharmaceuticals, chemical & petroleum, food & agriculture services sectors has navigated rapid expansion of intermediate bulk container industry worldwide. FMI has projected the market to exhibit 6.8% CAGR from 2021 to 2031 in comparison to the 3.6% CAGR registered between 2014 and 2020.

Industries are looking forward to adopting temperature-controlling bulk storage systems to maintain the desired properties of the stored content. Manufacturers of IBCs are therefore focusing on the development of temperature-controlled and heater jackets-compatible IBCs to fulfil the specific requirements of industries.

Shipping of hazardous chemicals has to be managed closely to minimize any loss of assets and monitor all legal container compliance requirements. Electronic tagging of IBCs is forecast to provide facilitate traceability of industrial chemicals that manufacturers need to reduce the cost of lost or damaged IBCs.

IBCs are used for the low cost of storage and transportation of fluids in bulk quantity in comparison to drums. The round shape of drums forms into large unused space, while IBCs ensure efficient space utilization. Furthermore, the usability of fiber or metal drums is much lower as compared to IBCs, which can be used for up to 15 years.

Pallets are strongly attached to the bottom of the IBCs, ensuring relatively easier handling than drums. IBCs are further capable of emptying properly, which is impossible in the case of drums. A considerable amount of residues are left at the bottom of the drum. These factors result in around three-fourth of savings in the cost of storage and transportation of fluids.

Intermediate bulk container sales will be driven as a durable, safe, flexible and economic option for agro-food, chemicals, paints& dyes, petroleum packaging services. The demand for products manufactured in one part of the world and delivered across the globe is impacting the growth of the intermediate bulk container market.

Moreover, low-cost IBCs produced in South Asia and East Asia has a high demand in mature markets of the U.S., U.K., Germany, and France. Low pricing of products in developing countries of India, China, and South Korea is making key players invest to produce goods in developing countries and export them to all parts of the world.

How will the Incorporation of RFID Augment the Demand for Intermediate Bulk Containers?

North America and Europe markets are becoming digitally advanced with each passing day, as the packaging industry is witnessing a variety of innovations. For instance, the integration of RFID technology has helped manufacturers to print a unique code that can be scanned to validate the authenticity of the product.

Consumers are more inclined towards digital technology. Therefore, manufacturers have started to incorporate RFID codes into packaging solutions. This trend has become highly prevalent among manufacturers in the APAC region.

Integration of RFID technology will help in curbing the counterfeiting menace in chemicals, pharmaceuticals and other industries, which is hampering the sales of the target market. RFID technology will also help in keeping tabs on logistical storage. These developments are expected to bode well for the global market.

What Is the Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Intermediate Bulk Container Market?

Following the unprecedented outbreak of COVID-19, nations across the entire world enforced complete or partial lockdown to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. While production of essential commodities continued even amidst restrictions imposed, supply-chain disruptions caused significant challenges.

To counter the losses, governments gave tax benefits to manufacturers for production of basic commodities. Agro-food & pharmaceutical industries received maximum relaxations after pandemic. Moreover, World Bank estimated a loss of US$ 10 Trillion in earnings during the pandemic.

The intermediate bulk container market also witnessed challenges amidst COVID-19 induced supply-chain disruptions. It resulted in an overall loss of over -2.4% of market value in the year 2020. But by the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, a rise in sales for agro products, chemicals, personal care, paints & dyes increased. This has contributed positively to the growth of global intermediate bulk container market by the start of 2021.

Country-wise Insights

Why is the U.S. Considered a Highly Profitable Intermediate Bulk Container Market?

North America is forecast to be third largest market for IBCs, according to Future Market Insights. According to the analysis, the U.S. is expected to hold more than 87% of share in the North American intermediate bulk container market till 2031.

According to Section 416 of Food and Drug Administration (FDA), delivery services have to ensure that medicine and agriculture produce are not delivered under any means of state that may render the product damaged.

These safety regulations are set to boost the market for durable, hygienic and safe drugs & agriculture packaging solutions like plastic flexible intermediate bulk container in the U.S. Due to this many distributors are moving towards FIBC for transport of food and agriculture products, augmenting the sales of intermediate bulk container

The U.S. is one of the world's biggest markets for consumption of intermediate bulk containers. Sales registered in the country totaled almost US$ 3.2 Bn in 2020.

Why are Intermediate Bulk Container Manufacturers Eyeing on China?

China will continue to pose a firm grip when it comes to industrial development and infrastructural growth.  In the year 2021 the country is projected to account for over 76% of the intermediate bulk container market in East Asia.

According to the Ministry of Industry & Information Technology, China, there is an 8.8% increase in industrial production in China during 2020-2021, which will subsequently augment the demand for FIBC during this period.

China also remains one of Asia’s biggest markets for food, chemicals and personal care industry, making it highly lucrative for intermediate bulk container manufacturers. As per FMI, the China which is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 8.4 % during the forecast period.

How will Expansion of Food & Agriculture Industry Affect Demand for Intermediate Bulk Container in India?

India is estimated hold market share of more than 40% in the South Asian intermediate bulk container market by the end of year 2031. The expansion of the food & agriculture services will present attractive opportunities for intermediate bulk container manufacturers to increase their sales in India.

According to the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), packaged food market in India is expected to double by almost US$ 70 Bn by 2025. This will highly impact the growth of FIBC segment of Intermediate Bulk Container market. Moreover, due to policy change of 51% FDI investment in multi brand retail will attract investors to penetrate the Indian markets.This will have prolific impact on food and agriculture services industry.  Due to large-scale production, India has emerged as a leading exporter of the packaged food to almost all parts of the world. Total agriculture commodities exported was US$ 17.2 Bn in between March 2020 and February 2021 in data provided by IBEF.

The ever increasing production of food & agriculture commodities means rise in demand for packaging solutions such as intermediate bulk containers. Also, the in-state consumption of foods has risen due to rising population and these factors directly impact the growth of global intermediate bulk container market

Category-wise Insights

Why is Plastic-based FIBC Preferred in the Intermediate Bulk Container Market?

Plastic FIBC is mostly used because of its recyclability due to which it controlled almost 98% of market share in 2020. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and various European health organizations such as European Child Safety Alliance have started to implement rules for usage of metal & paperboard materials because few cases of food poisoning over long time usage of IBCs made from these materials.

Moreover, metal IBCs if exposed under atmosphere causes reaction of liquid present in the containers with sunlight to leave traces of chemicals over food products, which further causes food poisoning and other harmful effects. Due to this, usage of plastic made intermediate bulk container will expand by 1.9 times by 2031.

Which Product of Intermediate Bulk Container is Widely Consumed?

Flexible intermediate bulk container bags are widely used due to their durability and light weight properties. This segment is anticipated to hold about 94% of the market share by the end of 2021.

Nations in the west are largely emphasizing on sustainable development and stringent rules for environment due to which procurement of raw materials will cause loss for many key players in these markets.

FIBC bags are reusable and a sustainable option due to which they have gained majority share of market. The segment is estimated to expand by almost 1.7 times its current market value by 2031.

Who are the Leading End-Users in Intermediate Bulk Container Market?

The food and agriculture sector is exhibiting high demand for flexible IBCs. The segment held a market share of more than 90% in the year 2020. It will continue to lead the end-use segment of the target market due to high demand in North America and Europe.

Competitive Landscape

Companies operating in the intermediate bulk container market are aiming at expansion and strategic partnerships with other manufacturers to expand their product manufacturing capabilities and global presence.

  • In 2020, Mondi, the global packaging and paper group, is investing in its Styria (Austria) plant to further boost its ability to offer safe, clean, and environment-friendly liners for flexible intermediate bulk containers.
  • In 2018, Schoeller Allibert’s new foldable intermediate bulk container (IBC), Combo FRUCTUS® was created to meet the expectations of tomato paste and fruit juice industries.
  • In 2018, Drewsen New technology developed by Austrian manufacturer Starlinger & Co. GmbH (U.S. office is American Starlinger-Sahm, Fountain Inn, S.C.) can produce woven-tape fabric directly from PET bottle flakes. With Starlinger’s “bottle to bag” technology, woven bags are made directly from recycled material and can be recycled after use.
  • In 2017, Conitex Sonoco USA, Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of flexible intermediate bulk container (FIBC) bags, launched BulkSak on-demand, a web-enabled inventory program that provides new and existing customers on-demand access to over 70 types of ready-to-ship FIBC bags.

Scope of Report



Forecast Period


Historical Data Available for


Market Analysis

USD Million for Value and Million Units for Volume

Key Regions Covered

North America, Latin America, Europe, MEA, East Asia, South Asia, and Oceania

Key Countries Covered

US, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Germany U.K., France, Italy, Spain, Russia, China, Japan, India, Australia, GCC Countries, Turkey,  and South Africa

Key Segments Covered

Product, Material, Content, Capacity, End Use, and Region

Key Companies Profiled

  • Thielmann US LLC
  • Schafer Werke Gmbh
  • Time Technoplast Ltd
  • International Paper Company
  • DS Smith Plc
  • Mondi Plc
  • SCHÜTZ GmbH & Co. KGaA
  • Mauser Packaging Solutions
  • Berry Global, Inc
  • Hoover Ferguson Group
  • Snyder Industries, Inc
  • Bulk Lift International, Inc
  • Environment Packaging Technology Inc
  • HCS Group
  • Transtainer
  • Obal Centrum s.r.o
  • Pensteel Ltd
  • SYSPAL Ltd
  • SIA Flexitanks Limited

Report Coverage

Market Forecast, Company Share Analysis, Competition Intelligence, DROT Analysis, Market Dynamics and Challenges, and Strategic Growth Initiatives

Customization & Pricing

Available upon Request


Key Questions Answered in the Report

  • What is the Current Valuation of Intermediate Bulk Container Market?

    The intermediate bulk container market is expected to surpass a valuation of US$ 21.0 Bn by 2021.

  • At what rate did the Intermediate Bulk Container Market Expand in the last 5 years?

    The intermediate bulk container market exhibited steady CAGR growth of 3.6% in the last seven years from 2014 to 2020.

  • What is the Demand Outlook for Intermediate Bulk Container Market?

    Intermediate bulk container market will register gradual rise in demand after a period of decelerating sales amid COVID-19 in 2020. As per FMI, the market will register a CAGR of 6.8% between 2021 and 2031.

  • What are the Key Trends Prevailing in the Intermediate Bulk Container Market?

    Key intermediate bulk container manufacturers are making solutions available that will help industries to transport large volume of liquid goods effectively. Also there is high focus on production of sustainable and reusable packaging solution.

  • What are the Key Factors Driving Intermediate Bulk Container Sales?

    Increasing demand for durable, safe and effective packaging solutions for large volume transportation will drive sales in the intermediate bulk container market.

  • What is the North America Intermediate Bulk Container Market Outlook?

    North America will remain the third-leading market for intermediate bulk container, accounting for nearly 17% of sales globally.

  • What is the Cumulative Share of Top Five Companies in Intermediate Bulk Container Market?

    The top five companies operating in the intermediate bulk container market are Greif Inc., Mauser Packaging Solutions, Schutz GmbH & Co. KGaA, DS Smith Plc, International Paper Company. These companies covered nearly 25% to 30% of the overall market in 2020.

  • At what Rate Will Intermediate Bulk Container Market Grow in Europe?

    FMI has anticipated that the European intermediate bulk container market being a mature market will exhibit a CAGR of 5.5% between 2021 and 2031 and will have an incremental rate of US$ 5.6 Bn

  • Which are the Top 5 Countries Exhibiting High Demand for Intermediate Bulk Container?

    The China, U.S.A., Japan, India, and Germany are among leading markets for intermediate bulk container, exhibiting consistently high demand.

  • At what Rate Will Japan Intermediate Bulk Container Market Grow?

    As per FMI, Japan intermediate bulk container market is expected to rise at 6.3% CAGR between 2021 and 2031 and expand almost 1.8 times at its current market value.

Key Segment

By Product:

  • RIBC
    • Metal
    • Paperboard
    • Plastic
    • Composite
  • FIBC
    • Flexitanks
    • Bags

By Material:

  • Metal & Paperboard
  • Plastic
    • PE
    • PP
    • PVC

By Content:

  • Liquid
  • Solid & Semi-Solid

By Capacity:

  • RIBC
    • Up to 1,000 Ltr.
    • 1,000 – 1,500 Ltr.
    • Above 1,500 Ltr.
  • FIBC
    • Up to 500 Kg
    • 501 to 1,000 Kg
    • 1,001 to 1,500 Kg
    • Above 1,500 Kg

By End Use:

  • RIBC
    • Chemicals
    • Petroleum & Lubricants
    • Paints, Inks & Dyes
    • Food & Beverage
    • Cosmetic & Personal
    • Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals
    • Others
  • FIBC
    • Chemicals & Fertilizers
    • Food & Agriculture
    • Building & Construction
    • Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals
    • Mining
    • Others

By Region:

  • North America
  • Latin America
  • Europe
  • MEA
  • East Asia
  • South Asia
  • Oceania

Need specific information?

In the news

How Businesses Can Utilize Market Research to Create Reactive, Recession-proof Strategies for Survival

by - Sudip Saha, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Future Market Insights

Our Clients

View Our Reports from Packaging

View Reports


Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) Market