Packaging in numbers: statistics and forecasts

A recently published study by the Istituto Italiano Imballaggio analysing the performance of the packaging industry in 2020 shows that it outperformed the manufacturing industry last year.

The entire world economic system witnessed a deep slump in 2020. However, the Italian packaging industry succeeded in limiting losses, closing the year with a mere -1.6% by weight, compared to -10.2% for the manufacturing sector. The Italian packaging industry produced 16.642 million tons in 2020 (-1.6%), with 2.842 million tons exported (-2.7%) and imports of 2.088 million tons (-2.4%). In terms of revenues, the Italian packaging industry brought in over 33 billion euros in 2020, a 2.6% decrease with respect to the previous year, again significantly outperforming the manufacturing sector. Losses in both tonnage and revenues were therefore quite limited for the Italian packaging industry. The study also shows that most Italian trade took place within Europe in 2020, accounting for 80% of imports and exports.      

Euromonitor has estimated world packaging production in 2020 at 3.822 trillion units. In terms of geographical breakdown, Asia leads at 43%, followed by Western Europe at 18% and North America up to 15% from 2019 figures. Latin America is next in line with 10% of world packaging production and Eastern Europe (including Russia) is close behind at 8%. The remaining 6% is divided up among other countries. 

The market was driven in Italy by packaged food and partly by mass-market consumer goods. Packaged preserved foods, some ready-to-use produce, household detergents and disinfectants, and a large number of pharmaceutical products sustained demand for packaging in 2020.
The study also ventured future scenarios for the Italian market, envisioning steady growth for the packaging industry in 2021 and beyond in the range of 1-2%.