There is increased optimism and positive expectations from companies in the value chain of the packaging sector with regard to their business results in 2015: 70% are expecting a higher turnover compared to last year and almost a quarter of companies are forecasting growth of over 10%. This is reflected in the sector barometer, Hispack Packaging Trends, which gathered the views of almost 1,500 company representatives, experts and organizations involved in the packaging world.
The participants in the survey, conducted by Fira de Barcelona’s Hispack trade show, include manufacturers of end products, machinery manufacturers; suppliers of raw materials; designers; distributors and retailers; printers; engineers; branding and packaging consultants; technology centres and logistics operators. The positive business forecasts for 2015 are common to every business sector. Barely 3% of companies forecast a turnover lower than in 2014.
Evolution in demand continues to be the factor with the biggest impact on the progress of their business for 52.3% of companies. This is followed by innovation and investment in R&D (33.7%); knowledge of consumer trends (31.7%), and the use of new technologies (24.5%). Furthermore, financing or cash flow difficulties are no longer the main cause for concern, as they have been over the past few years. Only 17.9% of those surveyed consider this to be a critical point in the business climate, compared to almost 40% who mentioned this aspect in the Hispack Barometer three years ago.
As in 2012, reductions in the costs of materials, energy, etc. continue to be the predominant innovation factor in the packaging industry. However, there is a significant increase in the importance given to sustainability (a key factor for 48% of those surveyed), smart packaging (33.5%) and convenience packaging (29.8%) – in other words, packaging that facilitates consumption or use of the end product.Other aspects that have grown compared to 2012 as a factor behind innovation in packaging are consumer safety, personalization and micro-segmentation by niche markets. On the other hand, there has been a slight drop in ready-to-sell (the speed and ease of getting products on the shelves) and the evolution of distribution channels.
The Barometer also indicates that the main areas where innovation in packaging is currently concentrated are design, materials, format and dispensing systems.
When asked about the main consumer trends with the biggest influence on packaging, 47.1% of those surveyed said that sustainability and eco-packaging was a priority, followed by ergonomics, practicality and ease of use (43%). There was a drop compared to the figures in the Barometer three years ago in low cost products and a rise in the need to put an emphasis on craftsmanship and authenticity. A case in point is packaging for premium products, which is expected to grow by 4% per year over the next five years.
Strong international presence
The data collected highlighted the strong international presence of Spanish companies. Some 56.6% of these companies have international reach. Of these, only 12% restrict their operations to Europe while 44.6% operate in other countries as well. Of the companies involved in the value chain of packaging, 30.3% operate within Spanish territory only while just 12% have solely local or regional scope.
Finally, the participants in the Hispack Barometer 2015 believe that the aspects that will define the future of the packaging sector are sustainability, reduced costs and the demand for new designs and formats.
All these trends are reflected in Hispack, the International Packaging Exhibition, which starts tomorrow and continues until Friday 24 April at Fira de Barcelona’s Gran Via Exhibition Centre. Hispack is bringing together around 700 exhibitors associated with the packaging value chain who will be showcasing the latest in machinery, technology, equipment, coding, labelling, processes, sustainability, new materials, smart packaging, logistics and PoP, amongst others. Hispack is being held at the same time and at the same venue as the food technology fair BTA, hosting some 1,250 firms between them.
This year, Hispack has created four themed areas based on trends, knowledge and networking between experts and trade professionals. These are Trend Pack, Premium Pack; Retail Area and Pack & Logistics Corner. As well as the usual trade show section there will be special areas set aside for presentations, featuring over 200 speakers. Subjects will include the latest innovations in packaging, medium- and high-end products for the gourmet, beverage and cosmetics sectors, marketing, retail and logistics.
The Spanish packaging industry is a cross-cutting sector which encompasses all kinds of activities that produce packaged products, from the manufacturers of raw materials, packaging, processing and bottling machinery, peripheral equipment and end-of-line machinery through to the end user. It is made up of 1,927 companies which employ 61,467 workers. Turnover in 2013 exceeded 18,000 million euros, 6.7% higher than in 2010, the date of the last sector report made by Hispack.
Barcelona, 20 April 2015