The packaging industry grows and reaches record levels in its turnover

April 25th 2024

packaging industry

La Spanish packaging industry grows and reaches record levels in its turnover, showing great strength and dynamism as a necessary sector for the real economy. With 40.409 million euros of turnover, the packaging industry Its turnover has increased by 22% and the number of companies by 8,3% to 3.447, according to the study presented by the salon Hispack at Fira de Barcelona on the occasion of the edition that will be held from May 7 to 10 at the Gran Via fairgrounds.

With the title “Packaging in Spain, the power of an industry that is committed to sustainability”, the Hispack 2024 report – prepared by the consulting firm marketAAD – updates its latest edition, published in 2022, in a complete x-ray of the sector that points out the large magnitudes and lines of development in which its companies work. The report shows the strength of this industry in a complex geopolitical and economic context marked by restrictions on certain raw materials, energy prices, strong inflation, and the latest regulatory changes to boost the contribution of packaging to sustainable development.

In this sense, the Spanish packaging industry has increased the number of companies by 8,3%, reaching 3.447 companies, 90% of which are SMEs. Likewise, it employs 118.500 people, 5,12% of employment in the industrial sector.

By activity subsectors, the largest number of firms corresponds to manufacturers of packaging and plastic materials (900), followed by paper and cardboard (710), packaging machinery (615), wooden containers (702) and manufacturers of labeling equipment, coding and marking (301). The list is completed by manufacturers of metal containers (165); glass (40); of corks (12); and other materials (2).

As for the geographical distributionCatalonia concentrates almost 30% of the companies in the sector. More than 40% of the companies are distributed between the Valencian Community (18%), the Community of Madrid (10,31%), Andalusia, which is experiencing strong growth and reaches 9,72%, and Murcia (6,3%).

Positive data

The Hispack study also analyzes the distribution of this business growth in the sector. Thus, the greater market demand for sustainable packaging has helped increase the turnover of companies by 24,4%. paper and cardboard companies, which lead this industry with 13.441 million euros. They are followed by plastic packaging, whose turnover remains stable at around 9.592 million euros, and packaging machinery, which increases its turnover by 12,32% and reaches 4.629 million euros, motivated by the commitment for the transformation and digitalization of these companies.

The rest of the specialties also registered notable increases in their business volume: the labeling, coding and marking It reached 3.395 million euros, 11,6% more; the one of wooden containers 3.292 million (+24,7%), that of metal containers, 3.259 million euros (+27,9%) and the glass, 2.478 million euros (+25,7%).

69% of Spanish packaging companies invoice less than 5 million euros, 21% between 5 and 25 million euros, while only 10% exceed this last figure. As a whole, the profitability levels of packaging firms are positive in all billing brackets.

The autonomous communities with the highest business volume in the packaging sector are Catalonia (10.216 million euros), Community of Madrid (6.635 million euros), Valencian Community (5.337 million euros), Aragon (3.286 million euros) and the Basque Country (3.105 million euros).

Presentation of the study

The Hispack 2024 report was presented yesterday at the Col·legi d'Economistes de Catalunya, located in Barcelona. After the words of Carles Puig de Travy, dean of the College of Economists of Catalonia, intervened Oriol Amat, professor of financial economics and accounting at the UPF, who highlighted the fact that the packaging sector represents 3% of the Spanish GDP, especially taking into account that tourism, which is the first, represents 12%. “2021, 2022 and 2023 are very good years for all sectors, also for packaging. The business fabric is greatly increasing its profits,” he said. But he added: “in 2022, of every 100 companies, only 25 increased sales and profits; In packaging, 80% of companies in the sector increased them.” He also pointed out the characteristics of packaging companies that achieve good results: “they have good leadership, they are committed to training their team, they have variable remuneration systems, flexibility, internationalization, prudent finances, excellence (they seek quality), innovation, customer orientation and commitment to sustainability.”

Then  Xavier Pascual, director of Hispack, emphasized “the importance of the economic-industrial sector” and highlighted that “it is necessary to look for young talent.” He also pointed out that the packaging sector is transversal and the fact that it has a turnover of more than 40.000 million euros, as well as the importance of Hispack for Fira de Barcelona: "it is the second show after Alimentaria."

Then Adrià Llacuna, project director of marketAAD, presented the study, of which we have already mentioned some of the most relevant data. Adrià Llacuna highlighted that “from 2021 to 2022 there has been growth of 22%” and commented on the most significant numbers in the report, as well as the trends in the sector.

The Hispack 2024 report points out that, although the challenge of sustainability is not new, it is a higher priority for companies due to the latest legislative changes and the greater awareness of consumers who demand more environmentally friendly packaging. In this sense, Llacuna mentioned the new regulation on ecodesign approved the day before yesterday by the European Parliament.

Thus, among the main causes that motivate the rise of the sector included in this study are, precisely, the necessary transformation towards the sustainability of packaging, the automation and digitalization of the industry, the post-pandemic economic recovery of the different productive sectors that has increased the demand for containers and packaging, and the unstoppable growth of electronic commerce that is associated with new packaging and logistics needs.

The work highlights that the sector is prepared to respond to all industries that demand solutions with lower environmental impact to quickly adapt to the latest regulatory changes that, among other measures, promote recycling and reuse within the framework of the circular economy, apply a special tax on non-reusable plastic packaging or provide for the creation of new collective systems of extended responsibility for commercial and industrial packaging.

For this reason, companies continue to innovate both in materials and in circularity solutions, and, in this sense, the main trends are the use of monomaterials, more recycled plastic and biodegradable raw materials, as well as the promotion of recyclability and the reuse of packaging and the application of life cycle analysis formulas for each product to adapt the solution with the lowest possible environmental impact.

Digital transformation is also reflected as one of the great challenges of the sector in which most companies are working. Along these lines, companies in the packaging machinery sector invest 3,7% of their turnover in R&D mainly to promote digitalization in order to increase sustainability with automated and more energy-efficient equipment capable of working with New Materials. Thus, the sector is incorporating and offering industry 4.0 technologies to link packaging and its associated processes with the entire supply chain, real-time information on manufacturing and logistics processes, product traceability or intelligent and connected packaging solutions.

Jordi Bernabeu, president of the Hispack Committee, emphasized the growth in both exhibitors and registered visitors of Hispack, closing the event.

hispack 2024

This good moment in the sector will be reflected in Hispack 2024, which will be held from May 7 to 10 at the Fira de Barcelona Gran Via venue. The leading event for the packaging industry in Spain and one of the first in Europe in its specialty also grows by 18% in this edition and will bring together 780 exhibitors from 28 countries and 1.250 brands represented, who will show the latest solutions and innovations from the most digital and sustainable packaging industry. The show expects to exceed 27.000 visitors, 10% international.

With the presence of leading manufacturers and distributors, Hispack will fill pavilions 2 and 3 of the fairgrounds with technology, materials and packaging solutions taking into account their entire life cycle and their connections with other production processes and the supply chain. 60% of the offer corresponds to packaging, bottling, labeling, coding, traceability, process, automation, robotics and logistics equipment and machinery. Meanwhile, the remaining 40% of exhibitors present materials, finishes, POS and specific packaging elements for different industrial and consumer sectors, as well as for distribution, ecommerce and retail.

With 32% international exhibitors from countries such as Turkey, Italy, China, Germany, France, Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom; and the arrival of professional visitors and buyers from all over the world, Hispack consolidates itself as an essential event to open markets and new business opportunities for Spanish companies in the sector.

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