Packaging Machines: record 2021 for the sector, total turnover rises to 8 billion and 240 million euros

More 5.5% of the sector compared to 2020, breaking the previous record of 2019. The new president Cavanna: “Extraordinary result, but shortage weighs on 2022”

The sector of automatic machines for wrapping and packaging celebrates the all-time record: in fact, in 2021, the sector recorded a total turnover of 8.24 billion , breaking the previous 2019 record of 8 , 04 billion. 

An even more striking result if we take into account the restrictions due to the pandemic that characterized the whole of 2021 and the world shortage of raw materials and components that put a brake on production and deliveries in the last months of the year. The increase compared to 2020 was equal to + 5.5% .

The data were disclosed during the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting by the Mecs – Ucima Study Center in the National Statistical Survey , which annually photographs the trend of the sector. 633 companies surveyed , which count 36,351 employees, grew by 2%.

International markets

The strong export vocation of Italian manufacturers of technologies and solutions for packaging is confirmed also in 2021, with foreign turnover accounting for 78.4% of the total, for a figure of 6.46 billion . After the decline of 4% in 2020, exports are therefore back in positive territory, registering a + 6.2%. With 2.15 billion in revenues, the European Union is confirmed as the main destination area for made in Italy machines and absorbs 40.8% of the entire export, with a + 3.4% compared to 2020. 

Asia(-4.4%), but still remains the second most important area for exports of Italian companies, with a turnover of 942 million euros, equal to 17.8% of the total international performance of the sector. Third step of the podium for North America , which stands out with a significant growth of + 13% compared to 2020, which is added to the + 6% of the previous year. 

The United States and Canada bring 828 million euros as a dowry. With 9% of the total export turnover, Africa and Oceania follow (turnover of 473 million), which overtake non-EU Europe in fourth place . Central and South America closes the ranking.

The ranking of the individual countries sees the United States of America in first place, with 756 million euros of machines sold and sent overseas. For the USA there is a growth of + 13.1% compared to 2020, an increase that is added to those of recent years. 

Followed by France and Germany , which after having dropped in 2020, return to growth, respectively by + 9.6% and + 10.1%. Turnover in the transalpine country was 364 million, while German companies bought for 316 million. China remains in fourth place, ahead of the United Kingdom, which overtook Spain in 2021.

The internal market

The Italian market is also growing, with 1.77 billion in turnover and 3.2% growth compared to 2020. The percentage of total turnover is 21.6%. A positive trend that continues.

The customer sectors

From the point of view of the customer sectors, the breakdown between food & beverage and non-food industries is respectively 57.1% and 42.9%. In detail: food increases the purchase of technologies by 8.8% compared to 2020, while beverage has seen a 3.4% drop in turnover. Combined together, the change compared to 2021 was + 3.4% with a turnover of 4.7 billion. 

First position among the non-food sectors is occupied by machines for tissue, tobacco and more which undermines the pharma with 1.5 billion, a slice of turnover equal to 18.2% and a powerful growth on 2020 equal to +16, 8%. 

The pharmaceutical sector follows with 1.4 billion and a weight of 17.1% on total revenues. 

Third place for the cosmetic sector, in the process of settling down after the important growth of 2020: last year the technologies for the packaging of cosmetic products brought a dowry of 341 million. Finally, the Chemicals & Home Care department with 286 million.

Turnover by type of production

The family of machines for primary packaging remains predominant with 52.2% of the distribution of turnover (4.29 billion deriving from the sale of these machines), followed by secondary packaging (20.7%) and machines for the line (13.0%). Labeling technologies are worth 6.2% of total revenues.

The production structure

The 633 companies that produce machinery for packaging and packaging are mainly concentrated along the axis of the Via Emilia – the so-called Packaging Valley – with production districts also in Lombardy, Piedmont, Veneto and Tuscany. The province with the most companies is Bologna , with 73 companies, followed by Parma (55) and Milan (54). 

The analysis by turnover class highlights the clear prevalence of small-sized companies (those under 10 million in turnover make up 81% of the companies), which however account for around 16% of the total turnover. While the more structured industrial realities with a turnover of more than 25 million euros (in all there are 55, 8.6% of the total companies in the sector) realize 72% of the entire induced in 2021.

Expectations for 2022

“Considering the very difficult year that was 2021 – comments Riccardo Cavanna, new president of Ucima -,between severe limitations in daily work, the absence of trade fairs and slowdowns in the supply chain, we are witnessing a truly extraordinary result. This is thanks to the incessant work that has been done by our companies in innovation, the search for smart solutions and in the promotion of made in Italy technologies. The first quarter of 2022 marked a slight decline of -4.4% compared to the same period of 2021, but the orders (up 8%) and the months of guaranteed production (6.7), give hope for the continuation of the year. 

A year that – continues the president – risks being less brilliant than the past due to many critical issues: from the costs of raw materials to the increases in transport prices to the difficulty of finding certain components that prevent the delivery of ready machines. Not to mention the difficulties due to the sanctions against Russia. However, we want to remain confident– concludes Cavanna – , also on the basis of the excellent results of our Ipack-Ima fair , which has shown great market dynamism, a desire to restart and interesting technological perspectives for the immediate future, increasingly digital and integrated with an even more efficient servitization “.

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