With recent figures, the Italian industry has once again benchmarked its strong dominance in the international market. The country’s domestic market has also witnessed outstanding performance with a growth of 14.4 %.
Italy – The Italian automatic packaging machinery industry continues to consolidate its world leading position. According to data collected by the research department of Ucima, the sector’s national association affiliated with Confindustria, the sector closed 2017 with further year-on-year growth.
Total turnover exceeded 8 billion dollars (8.36 billion dollars), 8.9 % up on 2016. The sector continues to stand out for its strong international presence, with Italian companies competing head-to-head with their German counterparts in all world markets. One machine out of every five sold worldwide is made in Italy.
Exports Grew by 7.5 % to 6.63 Billion Dollars
The domestic market also continued its strong performance with 14.4 % growth to more than 1.74 billion dollars. The sector consequently recorded a positive trade balance of 6.05 billion dollars, up by 7.1 %. These results were generated by 634 companies employing 32,227 people (up 8.7 % on 2016).
The sector was once again Italy’s most dynamic capital goods manufacturing industry in 2017, ranking top in terms of export share and second in terms of overall turnover.
Results in International Markets
The European Union remains the most important market, accounting for 37.4 % of total turnover (2.21 billion dollars). Asia ranks second with a value of 1.29 billion dollars and a 21.8 % share of turnover. The North American market ranks third with 689.01 million dollars (11.6 %). Next in line is Central and South America (619.48 million dollars; 10.4 %), non-EU Europe (599.25 million dollars; 10.1 %) and Africa and Oceania (511 million dollars; 8.6 %).
The United States, France and Germany remain the top three individual countries, followed by Mexico, China, Spain, UK, Russia, Turkey and Poland.
The Domestic Market
The Italian market has enjoyed a further positive year thanks to the tax incentives offered by the Industry 4.0 programme. Turnover generated in Italy grew by 14.4 % year-on-year to 1.74 billion dollars.
As for the breakdown of turnover amongst the various client sectors, the food and beverage sector maintained its dominant position in 2017 accounting for 56.1 % of total turnover.
Even considered individually, these two sub-sectors lead the rankings. Food was the largest client sector in 2017, making up 30.25 % of total turnover (2.53 billion dollars) and with an export share of 74.4 %. Beverage was second with 25.9 % of total turnover and exports making up 85 % of the segment’s sales.
They were followed by the ‘Others’ segment, which includes packaging machinery for tobacco, tissue, etc., with 1.70 billion dollars (20 % of the total) and an export share of 83 %, then the pharmaceutical machinery sector with 1.35 billion dollars (16 % of the total) and an export share of 80 %.
At the bottom of the rankings were the cosmetics and chemicals segments with turnovers of respectively 316 million dollars and 298.81million dollars and amongst the lowest export percentages, 74 % and 76 %.
In Italy, food remains the leading segment (37.1 %), followed by beverage and others.
The Structure of the Sector
The Italian packaging machinery sector reflects the structure of the Italian industry in general. Around 65.8 % of companies have revenues below 5.81 million dollars and account for just 8.9 % of the sector’s total turnover.
The 48 largest companies (with turnovers above 29 million dollars) generate 66.8 % of the sector’s total turnover. The larger companies are also the only ones to have seen growth in average number of employees.
Despite this polarisation, 2017 saw the growth of medium-sized companies (with turnovers in the 12–29 million dollar range), which increased in number from 52 to 77 (+25) and generated 15.4 % of the total turnover.
The largest number of companies are located in the Emilia Romagna region (36 %), accounting for 61.9 % of the total turnover. The next most important regions are Lombardy (28.1 % of companies and 17.6 % of turnover), Veneto (11.8 % of companies and 8.9 % of turnover) and Piedmont (11.4 % of companies and 6 % of turnover).
“The volatility of markets and constant changes in the geopolitical conditions in a number of regions make it increasingly difficult to make reliable forecasts,” said Ucima’s Chairman Enrico Aureli.
“On balance however we expect last year’s growth trend to be maintained. According to the Ucima Research Department’s forecasts, the industry will continue its strong performance in Italy and Europe. Sales are also expected improve in Asia and Africa with growth of between 6 % and 6.5 % in the two-year period 2018-2020.”