Italian Packaging Machinery Sales Grow 9 Times Faster Than Italy’s GDP

The Italian packaging machinery industry has confirmed its position as one of the most dynamic Italian manufacturing sectors.

Ranked first in terms of share of total capital goods exports (24.4%), the industry consists of 631 companies located mainly along the Via Emilia, the road that runs from Milan to Rimini, with further manufacturing clusters located in the Piedmont, Veneto and Tuscany regions.

In terms of technology and market share, the sector competes for the global leadership with Germany and accounts for a quarter of world machinery exports.

The industry is seeing steady growth, closing 2018 with total revenue of 7.85 billion euros, 9.4% up on the previous year.

Growth continues to be strong in both the domestic and international markets.

Domestic sales grew by 10.7% year on year to 1.6 billion euros, while exports amounted to 6.2 billion euros, an increase of 9%.

Results in international markets

The European Union remained the most important market, accounting for 38.1% of total turnover (2.05 billion euros). Four of the Italian manufacturers’ largest markets are located in the EU: France, Germany, Spain and the UK. Asia ranked second with a value of 1.024 billion euros (8% down on 2017) and a 19% share of turnover. The largest markets in Asia were China (ranked 8th overall), Japan (11th), India (16th) and Indonesia (19th).

The important North American market ranked third with 741.3 million euros (13.8%) and 25% growth over the previous year. This result was driven by the excellent performance in the United States, which saw 31% growth to 676.4 million euros and absorbed more than 90% of total exports to the region.

Next came Central and South America (552.7 million euros; 10.3%) with Mexico and Brazil amongst the leading markets; non-EU Europe (518.6 million euros; 9.6%), with the Russian Federation ranking 7th; and Africa and Oceania (492.1 million euros; 9.1%).

Client sectors

Looking at the breakdown of turnover amongst the various client sectors, food and beverage maintained its dominant position in 2018 accounting for 55.3% of total turnover.

Food was the largest client sector in 2018, making up 29.2% of total turnover (2.293 billion euros) and with an export share of 72%.

Beverage ranked second with 26.1% of total turnover and exports making up 82% of the segment’s sales.

Next came the “Others” segment, including packaging machinery for tobacco, tissue, etc., with 1.584 billion euros (20.1% of the total) and an export share of 86%, then the pharmaceutical machinery sector with 1.36 billion euros (17.3% of the total) and an export share of 79%, with international markets seeing the biggest increases.

At the bottom of the rankings were the chemicals and cosmetics segments with turnovers of respectively 291 million and 284 million euros and amongst the lowest export percentages, both 75%.

As for the breakdown of turnover between Italian domestic sales and exports for each client sector, Food remained the segment with the biggest share of domestic sales, while Others held the biggest export share.

2019 forecasts

“Given the slowdown in order acquisition in the first quarter of the year, we are very cautious about making forecasts for the current year. Markets are volatile and the geopolitical situation is changing continuously in many countries,” said Ucima Chairman Enrico Aureli.

“But considering the recovery in order acquisition in the second quarter, we are expecting to maintain or slightly improve on the excellent levels of business we achieved last year.”