The Spanish packaging industry grows, breaks records in turnover and prioritizes sustainability

The Spanish packaging industry is growing and reaches record levels in turnover, showing great strength and dynamism as a necessary sector for the real economy. With a turnover of 40,409 million euros, the packaging industry has increased its turnover by 22% and the number of companies by 8.3% to 3,447, according to the study presented by Fira de Barcelona’s Hispack show, which will be held from 7 to 10 May at the Gran Via venue.

Under the title ‘Packaging in Spain, the power of an industry committed to sustainability’, the Hispack 2024 report – produced by the consultancy firm MarketAAD – updates its last edition, published in 2022, comprehensively mapping the sector and pointing out the key magnitudes and lines of development in which its companies are working. The report confirms the strength of this industry in a complex geopolitical and economic context marked by restrictions on certain raw materials, energy prices, high inflation, and the latest regulatory changes aimed at increasing the contribution of packaging to sustainable development.

In this sense, the Spanish packaging industry has increased by 8.3% the number of companies, reaching 3,447 companies, 90% of which are SMEs. It also provides 118,500 jobs, 5.12% of employment in the industrial sector.

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

In terms of geographical distribution, Catalonia accounts for almost 30% of the companies, with an additional 40% distributed between Valencia (18%), Madrid (10.31%), Andalusia, which is experiencing strong growth, reaching 9.72%, and Murcia (6.3%).

Record business

The report also maps the sector’s business growth. The rising market demand for sustainable packaging has helped to increase the turnover of paper and cardboard companies by 24.4%, which in turn lead the industry with 13,441 million euros. Plastic packaging companies are second with a stable turnover of 9,592 million euros and behind them is packaging machinery, whose turnover increased by 12.32% to 4,629 million euros, encouraged by the commitment to transformation and digitisation of these companies.

The remaining specialties also recorded notable increases in turnover: the labelling, coding and marking sector reached 3,395 million euros, up 11.6%; the wooden packaging sector 3,292 million (+24.7%), metal packaging, 3,259 million euros (+27.9%) and glass, 2,478 million euros (+25.7%).

Almost 69% of Spanish packaging companies have a turnover of less than 5 million euros, 21% between 5 and 25 million euros, and only 10% exceed the latter figure. Altogether, the profitability levels of packaging firms are positive in all turnover brackets.

The regions with the highest turnover in the packaging sector are Catalonia (10,216 million euros), Madrid (6,635 million euros), Valencia (5,337 million euros), Aragon (3,286 million euros) and the Basque Country (3,105 million euros).

More packaging, more sustainable

The Hispack 2024 report also tackles the sustainable development of the packaging industry. In this sense, it points out that, although the challenge of sustainability is not new, it is more of a priority for companies due to the latest regulatory changes and the greater awareness of consumers who demand more environmentally friendly packaging.

Therefore, among the main reasons for the rise of the sector reflected on this study feature the necessary transformation towards the sustainability of packaging, the automation and digitisation of the industry, the post-pandemic economic recovery of different productive sectors with growing demand for packaging, and the unstoppable growth of e-commerce that is tied to new packaging and logistics demands.

The study highlights that the sector is ready to respond to all industries that demand solutions with less environmental impact and seek to adapt to the latest regulatory changes which, among other measures, encourage recycling and reuse within the framework of the circular economy, apply a special tax on non-reusable plastic packaging or target creating new collective systems of extended responsibility for commercial and industrial packaging.

Therefore, companies continue to innovate both in terms of materials and circularity solutions, and in this sense, the main trends include the use of mono-materials, more recycled plastic and biodegradable raw materials, as well as the promotion of recyclability and reusability 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 among the major challenges facing the sector, on which most companies are working. In this line, companies in the packaging machinery sector invest 3.7% of their turnover in R&D, mainly to promote digitalisation to increase sustainability with automated and energy-efficient equipment capable of working with new materials. Accordingly, 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 and intelligent and connected packaging solutions.

Hispack 2024

The sector’s momentum will be reflected at Hispack 2024, held from May 7 to 10 at Fira de Barcelona’s Gran Via venue. The leading event for the packaging industry in Spain and one of the first in Europe in its speciality will also grow by 18% in this edition and will bring together 800 exhibitors from 28 countries and 1,250 brands, which will showcase the latest solutions and innovations of the most digital and sustainable packaging industry. The show expects to attract more than 27,000 visitors, 10% of which international.

Hispack wil spread over halls 2 and 3 of the Gran Via venue and will feature the leading manufacturers and distributors of packaging technology, materials and solutions, taking into account their entire life cycle and their connections with other production processes and the supply chain. 60% of Hispack’s commercial offer corresponds to equipment and machinery for packaging, bottling, labelling, coding, traceability, process, automation, robotics and logistics. The remaining 40% of exhibitors focus on materials, POS and specific packaging elements for different industrial and consumer sectors, as well as distribution, e-commerce and retail.

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

Barcelona, April 26th 2024

PRESS REGISTRATION Hispack 2024 here 

Images Presentation Report in Barcelona (24-04-2024) here

Images Presentation Report in Madrid (25-04-2024) here

Maria Dolores Herranz
Tel. +34 93 233 25 41