The packaging sector: first considerations regarding 2023

The results emerging from initial analyses of data relating to the packaging industry with reference to 2023 show a situation that confirms the production trend registered for 2022.

Barbara Iascone

Final data for the sector are still not available at the time of going to press, but what emerges is production falling by 0.9% which, together with the fall of -0.6% last year, takes the tonnes of packaging produced to under 18,000 t/000.

Production. The data analysed by ISTAT regarding the trend of each single material are correlated to the trends relating to the main sectors of use, the food sector first and foremost, followed by beverages. Both areas are firmly linked to the packaging sector and suffered a setback in 2023, recording respectively around -1.5% and -4%. The two materials linked almost exclusively to the two cited sectors, steel and glass, suffered the repercussions of the negative trend. Thanks to the positive trends, on the other hand, in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, materials like plastic and aluminium have enjoyed relative benefits from a production point of view.

Turnover. There was a reversal, on the other hand, in the turnover trend in the packaging sector: after the sharp increases in production costs recorded in 2022, which in turn lifted turnover by 15.4%, in 2023 the situation regarding production costs should level off. This scenario should lead to a fall in the Italian packaging industry’s turnover by 1,2%, arriving at around 40.1 billion euros.

Trade balance. An analysis of the numbers relating to foreign trade reveals a situation never seen before. After years in which imports has had a constant growth trend, in 2023 they actually exceeded exports. For the first time, we have a negative trade balance, in which imports exceed exports by around 20,000 tonnes. In 2023, imports and exports both show negative trends, but while imports fell by 1.6% exports decreased by 11.3%!
In over 15 years, imports have registered an average annual growth of +6%, deriving largely from the convenience of intensifying production in those countries where production costs are lower. The materials most affected by this phenomenon are metals (both steel and aluminium), glass and paper. Poland and Turkey are the countries from which Italy appears to import most, together as always, with Germany which remains our principal trade partner.

Apparent use. All the above-analysed trends lead to estimating an apparent use which does not take account of movements in stocks, up by 0.7% and evidently boosted by imports.

Prices. In 2023 the prices of raw materials used to produce packaging all fell, with the exception of glass, which registered increases in average prices for the year. This confirms the trend hypothesised for the sector turnover.

Barbara Iascone
Italian Packaging Institute Research Centre

NOTE: Source, Packaging in figures ed. 2023 and ISTAT 2024 analyses

Find out more information about the companies mentioned in this article and published in the Buyers' Guide - PackBook by ItaliaImballaggio
Istituto Italiano Imballaggio

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