Packaging machines: + 8% in 2021, but production costs rise

As expected, the packaging machinery sector is running again. As emerges from the latest report drawn up by the UCIMA Research Centre (Italian Packaging Machinery Manufacturers’ Association), after a rather complex 2020, the packaging sector experienced a decidedly positive 2021, with the turnover of the entire production system exceeding pre-crisis levels.

Covid-19 thus seems to be definitively behind us, but some small clouds seem to be looming on the horizon. In short, as UCIMA president Mr. Matteo Gentili points out, it is necessary to monitor the trend of the entire production system to avoid everything coming to a standstill again.

Packaging machinery, record 2021

The progress recorded in the first quarter of 2021 was not just a “flash in the pan”. The preliminary 2021 figures released by the UCIMA Research Centre are in fact quite clear: over the past 12 months, turnover in the packaging machines sector rose to €8,435 million, up 8% compared to 2020.

This figure is particularly influenced by domestic orders: the 18% growth brings the turnover of the domestic market to exceed the threshold of 2 billion euros. Exports, on the other hand, are worth almost EUR 6.5 billion, with a growth in turnover compared to 2020 of “just” 5%. According to the institute’s forecasts, 2022 should be no different: the sector can already count on guaranteed production for the first 7 months of the year, with a consolidated growth trend.

Production costs, the new sword of Damocles

In short, 2021 closed in a more than positive way and 2022 seems to continue on the same path, but we must not lower our guard. As the analysts of Centro Studi UCIMA point out, a new “sword of Damocles” has descended on the sector’s growth prospects: increases in production costs. Generalised inflation on raw materials, services and finished products could in fact affect growth prospects for 2022.

According to data released by the Italian Packaging Machinery Manufacturers’ Association, 30% of member companies are worried about rising raw material prices, rising component costs with deliveries often delayed, rising transport costs and rising energy costs. All factors that, in one way or another, could negatively affect the growth of turnover in the current year.

For this reason UCIMA is monitoring the price trends of raw materials, services and energy products and, as stated by UCIMA president Mr. Matteo Gentili, it is necessary to recognize and manage these market tensions in order not to jeopardize the productive momentum of the country system.

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