European Tube Production:

Modest Growth in 2019

In 2019, the European tube industry managed to expand its overall production again despite a difficult economic environment and considerable uncertainty in the markets. The member companies of the european tube manufacturers association (etma) increased their production by 1 percent to almost 11.5 billion tubes.

Gregor Spengler, etma’s General Secretary, expressed his satisfaction with this performance: “The result for 2019 is remarkable given the problematic market conditions. It reflects not only the capability and innovative strength of our industry, but also the growing popularity of the tube with European consumers as a modern, functional, consumer-friendly and sustainable form of packaging.”

Stable demand from the dental care, pharmaceutical and food sectors had a particularly positive effect last year. In contrast, the cosmetics sector tended to be flat, but still remains by far the most important market for tubes. It accounts for around 45 per cent of all production. It is followed by the markets for toothpaste and the pharmaceutical sector, each of which has a good 20 per cent. Almost 10 per cent goes into the food industry, with household products and technical/industrial applications accounting for the remaining five per cent.

Sales of plastic and aluminium tubes each fell by around three per cent. In contrast, laminate tubes performed extremely well, with an increase in sales of just under eight per cent, which kept the overall tube market on a satisfying course of growth in 2019.

The first quarter of 2020 has also started quite well, even though the global Corona crisis is giving rise to considerable uncertainty. “It’s not possible at this stage to make any sort of serious forecast for the coming months because of the fragility of the global supply chains and the fact that conditions in general can change quickly and dramatically at any time,” says Gregor Spengler.

Whatever happens, the health of the employees of etma’s members is of the highest priority and the companies have taken appropriate measures concerning hygiene and safety. Furthermore, the availability of primary materials and transport capacities is also of fundamental importance in order to maintain production. Disruption of the supply chain must be prevented here.

The packaging industry has been identified as an important element of the system-relevant supply of food in many countries around the world. In times of crisis like now, packaging ensures that society’s basic needs are met. Besides the food sector, the medical/pharma sector is naturally also relevant in times of crisis. Both sectors are core markets for the tube industry.

European tube manufacturers will be doing their utmost to make a reliable contribution towards ensuring that the supply of these essential products to the population continues to run smoothly during these turbulent times.