The two-year period thus marked a near 8% decline after several years of uninterrupted growth. In 2020, European manufacturers were penalised both by reduced deliveries to home markets (-7.9%) and the negative trend in exports (-4.8), with the five major exporting countries noting a decrease, except the Netherlands. As far as imports, most European countries, with a few exceptions, reduced their imports, the bulk absorbed by EU countries, a third by Germany and France.
Nevertheless, this lower demand did not match the shrinkage in the EU’s GDP in 2020 (-6.2%), countering the view that investments in machinery decrease to a greater extent than the economy as a whole. In fact, packaging machinery manufacturers, being tied to sectors less impacted by pandemic containment measures, specifically the food, beverage and tobacco industries (-1.4%) and the pharmaceutical industry (+0.0%), saw a lower drop than expected.
So while 2021 will see production activities still affected by Covid-19, the packaging machinery industry will be sustained by those sectors above, which will note stable turnover, and in the case of pharmaceuticals, a higher demand. Taking factors into account, a reasonable assessment is that European purchases of packaging machinery will return to pre-crisis levels of 2018 in the first half of 2023 (+9%). (Source: ASEtudes)