European tube market remained stable in 2023

The European tube market remained stable in 2023 despite adverse conditions. Deliveries by tube manufacturers organised in the European Tube Manufacturers Association (etma) remained at the previous year’s level with a total volume of just under 11.9 billion units.

The most important end user markets developed differently. While deliveries to the dental care sector increased by a good 2 per cent, demand from the pharmaceutical and cosmetics markets both fell by around 2 per cent. Deliveries to the food industry were able to repeat the previous year’s result.

“Despite the multiple crises we are currently seeing around the world, the tube market remained stable in 2023. The war in Ukraine and Gaza, stubborn inflation and the associated political and economic uncertainties are weighing on consumer sentiment and buying behaviour. The overall result achieved by the European tube industry in 2023 is therefore quite satisfactory,” says etma President Mark Aegler.

Sustainability remains the dominant trend

The industry is expecting a new European packaging regulation to be passed before the European elections, which will stipulate numerous stricter requirements for the sustainability of packaging. In particular, the recyclability and design for recycling of packaging are to be improved. The packaging industry must rise to this challenge and offer innovative packaging solutions.

The European tube industry has been working intensively on innovative packaging solutions. Improvements in terms of sustainability have been realised in particular through the use of less material, less complex packaging structures and optimal recyclability. The result is reflected in optimised resource efficiency. 

“However, the quotas for the use of recycled material in plastic packaging contained in the new EU packaging regulation will pose major challenges for the packaging industry. These can only be solved through appropriate investments in the entire sorting, processing and recycling supply chain and through corresponding progress in the authorisation of recycling processes for polyolefins in the EU. In fact, the availability of high-quality post-consumer recycled plastics is still very limited at present,” adds Aegler

Satisfactory outlook for the first half of 2024

Despite the difficult political and economic conditions, the European tube industry is cautiously optimistic about the first half of 2024. 

“The order backlog in our industry remains satisfactory overall. In addition, the European tube industry has always proven to be resilient in years of crisis in the past. In addition, energy costs and inflation are easing slightly. The further development of the raw materials and freight markets, on the other hand, is rather uncertain. However, the biggest challenge for the industry in the coming years will probably be increasingly fierce competition for qualified employees,” summarises Aegler.

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