Photo: Oriol Amat, professor of financial economics and rector of Pompeu Fabra University; Carles Puig de Travy, dean of the Col·legi d'Economistes de Catalunya; Xavier Pascual, director of Hispack; and Adrià Llacuna, project manager at marketAAD consultancy and author of the report. With a turnover of 29.750 million euros in 2020, the container and packaging sector represents 4,37% of the turnover of the total Spanish industry and represents 2,65% of GDP, according to the report presented by the fair Hispack of Fira de Barcelona on the occasion of the edition that will be held from May 24 to 27.
Entitled "Packaging, industry innovation engine", the Hispack study -prepared by the marketAAD consulting firm- radiographs and categorizes the economic magnitudes of the sector and points out the broad lines of development in which its companies are working. Currently, packaging is facing the challenges of supply and rising prices of raw materials and increased production costs. At the same time, it is undergoing an intense transformation motivated by the boom in demand for sustainable packaging in a scenario of change in the regulatory framework and greater eco-awareness among consumers.
In Spain, the packaging sector has 3.180 companies -mostly SMEs-, which employ 113.000 people, that is, 5,16% of employment in the industrial sector. By subsector of activity, the largest number of firms corresponds to manufacturers of plastic packaging and packaging materials (737), followed by paper and cardboard (660), packaging machinery (634) and wooden packaging (631) and manufacturers of labeling, coding and marking equipment (317). The list is completed by manufacturers of metal containers; of glass; of corks; and other packaging materials.
In terms of geographical distribution, Catalonia concentrates almost 30% of the companies in the sector. Close to 40% of the companies are divided between the Valencian Community (18%), the Madrid Community (10,31%), Murcia (6,4%) and Andalusia (5,16%).
The largest turnover corresponds to the companies of packaging materials, especially paper and cardboard (9.043 million euros) and plastic (7.502 million) followed by packaging machinery (3.942 million). The autonomous communities with the highest volume of business in the packaging sector are Catalonia, the Community of Madrid, the Valencian Community, Aragon and the Basque Country.
The Hispack study also analyzes the distribution of the turnover of the sector by company. 72% of them invoice less than 5 million euros, 20% between 5 and 25 million and 8% exceed this last figure. The average profitability of the packaging companies was around 1,07 million euros of EBITDA in 2020.
The sharp drop in consumption, the contraction in demand and the sudden halt in industrial activity during 2020 due to the pandemic led to a decrease of 3,37% in its turnover compared to 2019. A lower percentage than that experienced the whole of the industrial GDP (-9,84%) and the national GDP itself (-10,8%).
Innovation in containers and packaging has accelerated due to three major factors: The competitiveness and efficiency of industrial manufacturing processes thanks to digitization and automation; the deployment of a legislative framework and the transformation of the consumer into a conscious actor. The new Law on Waste and Contaminated Soils that came into force on April 10, and the future Law on Packaging and Packaging Waste, in the process of parliamentary processing, will speed up the entry of the entire supply of packaging materials and solutions into the circular economy paradigm.
Hispack and the power of the sector
The strength of the Spanish packaging industry will be reflected in the next edition of Hispack, the reference fair for the sector and one of the first in Europe in its speciality, which will be held from May 24 to 27. The fair returns to the Fira de Barcelona Gran Via venue with more than 600 direct exhibitors, from 25 countries, and 1.100 brands represented.
Hispack will fill halls 2 and 3 of the fairgrounds; 60% of the offer corresponds to equipment and machinery for packaging, bottling, labeling, coding, traceability, process, automation, robotics and logistics; the remaining 40% of exhibitors present materials, finishes, POS and packaging elements for different industrial and consumer sectors, as well as for distribution, e-commerce and retail.
This year Hispack is being held simultaneously with Graphispag, the exhibition for the graphic industry and visual communication that will occupy Hall 1.