This represents an improvement over the 1998-2003 period, reflecting accelerating macroeconomic growth in developing regions and Eastern Europe. Improving economic fundamentals - especially income levels - will bolster most packaging machinery consuming sectors in these regions. As a result, manufacturing output will increase, creating opportunities for packaging machinery suppliers, according to the report.
In 2003, the world packaging machinery market was valued at $24.7 billion, with 38 per cent of the total accounted for by Asia/Pacific countries, followed by North America with 26 per cent and Western Europe with 24 per cent.
The most promising markets are those emerging in Latin America and the Asia/Pacific region, where faster population growth and more rapidly increasing levels of industrial output will stimulate demand for packaging machinery in industries such as food, beverage, chemicals, pharmaceutical and personal care products.
For example, China will record some of the strongest increases, with packaging machinery demand rising over 8 per cent annually through 2008. India will also post strong gains due to ongoing industrialisation and impressive gains in fixed investment. The country is particularly dependent on foreign suppliers for technologically advanced, automated equipment, since most locally made machinery is not considered up to global standards.
The Latin America region, in particular Argentina, will benefit from macroeconomic recovery after the early 2000s recession.
Meanwhile, the advanced nations of North America, Western Europe and Asia/Pacific (i.e., Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea) comprise mature markets for packaging machinery. And although the machinery markets in the US, Japan and Western Europe will all register below average gains through 2008, all three will also see an improvement in their respective markets over the performance of the 1998-2003 period.
Among product groups, labelling and coding machinery will remain the fastest growing product. Advances will result from the increasing number of labelling regulations in many parts of the world, as well as from shippers' need to track product.
Filling and form/fill/seal equipment will remain the largest product group, due to their widespread use across a range of industries. And new product development activity will continue in all product categories, with packaging machinery manufacturers continuing to introduce smarter, faster and more flexible units, according to Freedonia.