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Ucima-Mecs Research Centre

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Machinery / First-half 2021 sales returns to 2019 levels

The growth with respect to the first half of 2020 was 21%. The sector held its ground in 2020 with turnover of almost 8 billion euros.

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packaging machinery

The Ucima-Mecs Research Centre published data on the automatic packaging machinery market. Italian industry recorded robust 21% growth in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020. In the period from January to June, exports were 19.3% higher than in the first half of 2020 and domestic sales up 31.2%. With these figures, the entire industry has returned to pre-pandemic levels, with a difference of just -1.8% compared to the first half of 2019 (a record year that saw year-end sales in excess of 8 billion euros).

This performance was the combined result of 9.2% growth in the first quarter and an even higher 29.4% growth in the second quarter compared to the same period the previous year. The growth is similar in the domestic market (+34%) and in the export market (+28.4% compared to the previous year). The Ucima-Mecs Research Centre also published data on orders, which were up by 10.9% in the second quarter and 10.7% over the entire first half of the year.

Last year the Italian automatic packaging machinery manufacturers essentially maintained the previous year's turnover levels. Following the record figures of 2019, the sector saw a modest year-on-year decline of 2.9% to 7.81 billion euros, in line with the result of 2018 (7.9 billion euros). Last year also saw an increase in both the number of companies in business (635 in total, +3.1%) and in the number of employees, which grew by 7% to 35,630.

International markets

In line with 2019, export sales accounted for 78% of the total (6,08 billion euros) but fell by 4,1%. The European Union remained the main target market for Italian packaging machinery and accounted for 41% of total turnover (2,087 million euros) including sales in Italy, followed in second place by Asia with a value of 985.8 million euros and a 19.4% share, then North America in third place with 733.1 million euros (14.4%). North America is the only macro region that saw growth in turnover (+5.9%) with respect to 2019, a year when exports dropped to 691.9 million euros. Next came non-EU Europe (8.6%, or 439.7 million euros), Africa and Oceania (8.4%) and Central and South America (8.2%).