63% of the Italian turnover in 2015 from the packaging industry, equal to 6.2 billion euros, came from the area around Bologna and Modena. Of this figure, more than 80% (approximately 5 billion euros) derived exclusively from exports, with a clear preference (472 million euros) for our distant cousins in America.
In fact, the United States are the top country demanding Made in Italy technology in this industry, which is expected to further grow over the next 4-5 years. The second place, in terms of demand for our technology, is occupied by our neighbours over the Alps – the French – who, however, give us 30% less in profits.
Well, we Italians are good, though not the best: despite the 18.6% growth recorded in 2015 and an annual 7% average trend of sales to US customers, we still come in second behind our German colleagues: in fact, in 2015 alone, Germany exported technologies worth 643 million euros to U.S. industries.
Our success is a success made of numbers though also of sentiment: the US interest in Made in Italy automation has been confirmed by a study conducted by the research company Eumonitor on a panel of US food & beverage multinationals (i.e. CocaCola, Cargill, McCain, Wrigley), which purportedly intend to focus on sustainability, digitalization and automation of processes over the next two years. All these elements are developed in an excellent manner in the Italian production district in Emilia, and not only.
67% of these companies intend to replace their machinery, taking into considerable account Italian technology and brands – even though it seems that the appeal of our machinery is undermined by the trend of US companies (57%) to prefer US-made products, despite recognizing the technological superiority of Italians and Germans.
The future of U.S. industries and the evolution of such entrepreneurial intentions, affect us quite a lot and very closely.
If it is true that with the newly elected President Trump, the nationalist/protectionist spirit of America might worsen, we should also not forget that the US market is, for technology exporters, one of the most strategic markets of all, thanks to its extent, solidity and rules – written, shared and respected – which is governed by. Suffice it to think about the lack of interest shown by US multinationals for Made in China technologies – confirmed by the Eumonitor survey itself – and the associated difficulties encountered by Chinese companies in their business relationships developing in this direction.
What else is there to say? We will have to wait and see. In the meantime: Hurrah for the Happy Valley of Italian packaging!