Packaging machinery: data from Ucima reports record turnover

Published: 04/09/2023

Ucima has released data from the National Statistical Survey conducted with the Mecs Study Center, which takes a snapshot of the packaging machinery industry’s performance each year, reporting a new historic milestone. The final industry figures for 2022 note record sales of 8 billion 537 million euros, increasing the 2021 result by 3,6%. The growth trend of recent years is confirmed.

Customer sectors: the food & beverage sector prevails

The breakdown of packaging machinery customer sectors between food & beverage and non-food industries is 56,7% and 43,3%, respectively. In 2022, the food industry is the top customer sector, taking the podium by absorbing 31,9% of total sales. In second place is the beverage segment with 24,8% of total turnover, growing by 8%. Third on the podium is the nonfood tissue and “other” industry customer sectors with 18,6% of total turnover, up 6%. This is followed by the pharma, cosmetics, chemical and home care customer sectors.

Turnover by production type

Analysis by turnover, places the primary packaging equipment sector in first place with 50,2% of total turnover. With 28,4% of total turnover, end-of-line, labeling and auxiliary equipment follow together. The secondary packaging machinery sector, absorbs the remaining 21,4% of total turnover.

The domestic and international markets

The domestic market shows significant growth, with an increase of 10,6% over 2021. Domestic turnover reached 23% of total sales.

Exports absorb 77% of total turnover, up 1.7% from 2021. The European Union remains the main foreign market with 38,4% of all exports and 2,52 billion euros in turnover. It is followed by the Asian market with a turnover of 1,23 billion euros, North America with 1,14 billion euros, non-EU Europe with 650 million euros, South America with 456 million euros, and Africa and Oceania with 565 million euros.

The production and employment structure

Geographically, Italian packaging machine manufacturers are mainly concentrated along the Via Emilia axis, the so-called “Packaging Valley,” with production districts also in Lombardy, Piedmont, Veneto and Tuscany. The sector consists of 616 companies employing 37.753 people. In 2022, the entire sector hired 1402 workers, with a growth of 3,9% compared to 2021.

Analysis of the industry by turnover class

The analysis shows that companies in the sector with a turnover of more than 25 million euros are only 9% of the total, although they account for the most significant share (72,8%) of the total volume. Smaller companies, up to 5 million euros in turnover, while accounting for 64,1% of the total, contribute only 7,6% to industry turnover.

Expectations for 2023

For 2023, data analyzed by Ucima with the Mecs Study Center note expectations of further growth by 47% of the surveyed companies in the sector; 41,7% expect stability, while 10,3% fear a decline.

Ucima President’s conclusions

“Looking back, we really did something extraordinary,” says Ucima President Riccardo Cavanna. “The year 2022 experienced ups and downs and strong international tensions, from the supply chain to rising costs to the conflict in Ukraine, but we equally managed to grow by breaking through the 8.5 billion mark for the first time. It is a sign of the undoubted leading position that foreign markets continue to credit us with, and it is yet more evidence of the excellent responsiveness of our companies, which for inventiveness and ingenuity in stressful situations are second to none. This achievement is one we are proud of and one we hope to maintain in this 2023, but it will by no means be easy. For the second half of the year, in fact, the indicators available to us outline a slowdown in global demand.”

“What causes concern for the near future,” Cavanna concludes, “stems from some of the brakes on investment: the new European packaging regulation (which we are not convinced about) and its approval process, rising interest rates, the uncertainty that still persists in some areas of the world, and the lack of new 4.0 policies. These are all threats to our leadership position, threats that we will not be able to defuse on our own.”

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