Glass Bottle and Container Market - EU Glass Bottle And Container Market Is Set To Post Modest Gains

Glass August 12, 2016
Author: Sergey Avramenko
Head of Global Markets Research Team

Glass Bottles and Containers

Photo: © Alexlukin / Bigstockphoto

Consumption on the glass container market in the EU leveled off at its highest levels. Post-crisis recovery is likely to exhaust its potential, and in the medium term the market is expected to see barely noticeable growth. At the same time, consumption in the EU is almost completely covered by supplies from the EU Member States, leaving small room for suppliers from outside of the EU.

Market Value, Glass Bottles and Containers, 2007-2015

In 2015, EU bottle and glass container market had earned total revenues of 9,240 million EUR. A significant drop in market value in 2009 was followed by steady growth with only minor fluctuations over the next six years.

Italy, France, Spain, Germany, and the UK were the leading EU consumers. With nearly 19,576 million units of glass bottles and containers consumed in 2015, Italy became the leading consumer in the EU. Moreover, the per capita consumption in Italy was estimated at 327 units/1,000 persons. This was one of the highest figures in terms of per capita consumption across the EU. Italy, moreover, had the highest rate of growth in terms of per capita consumption across the main EU consumer market.

High figures in terms of per capita consumption of glass bottles and containers were also seen in Portugal (427 units/1,000 persons) and Spain (236 units/1,000 persons). Moreover, per capita consumption in these countries has grown rapidly in recent years. Sweden (87 units/1,000 persons) and Poland (92 units/1,000 persons), had the lowest levels of consumption.

Total EU Consumption, Glass Bottles and Containers, By Country

EU bottle and glass container market showed a high intensity of international trade. In 2015, the total export volume for glass bottles and containers stood at 34,106 million units, which 5% more than the year before. The bulk of the trade was conducted between the EU Member States, while approx. 10% of imports came from outside the EU.

Total EU Imports, Glass Bottles and Containers, 2007–2015

In 2014, France (6,377 million units), Spain (6,133 million units), Italy (3,331 million units), Belgium (2,882 million units), and Germany (2,798 million units) were the main import destinations for bottles and other glass containers amongst the EU members, together making up 71% of the region's total imports.

Market Structure – EU Domestic Supply Vs. Extra-EU Imports, 2007-2015

Since most of the trade is concentrated between the EU Member States, imports from non-member countries do not significantly affect the market. The share of extra-EU imports in terms of apparent consumption of glass bottles and containers amounted to only 4% in 2015, remaining relatively stable over the period under review. The well-developed glass bottle and container industry and the high competitiveness of EU member enterprises enables local manufacturers to almost completely meet the domestic EU demand.

The manufacture of food and drink products is the key downstream industry for glass bottle manufacturing industry, currently being one of the dominant industries in Europe's manufacturing sector. At the moment, the EU food and drink industry is enjoying a period of steady growth. As a result, the demand for glass bottles and containers remains high.

A constant stiff competition from plastic packaging alternatives will, however, impede the market growth. Progress and advances in plastic technology mean that the safe use of plastics in packaging is increasingly feasible. This development, in turn, will have an impact on the use of glass as a packaging material.

Market Structure – EU Domestic Supply Vs. Extra-EU Imports

About a half of the EU market value accounted for glass bottles and containers, and the second half comprised those of plastics. This balance remained relatively stable throughout the period under review, and it's expected to remain broadly unchanged in the medium term. 

On the one hand, a plastic container could be more convenient in some cases, for the reason that it can't be broken and has a lower weight. In addition, plastic packaging tends to become more environmental-friendly, gradually increasing the proportion of biodegradable plastics.

Nevertheless, glass is, as of now, an unrivaled product when it comes to the packaging of food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products: it does not react with other chemicals, can be easily sterilized, and its recycling potential gives glass a leg up against most packaging alternatives. Glass can also be easily molded into almost any shape or form, enhancing its versatility in terms of packaging use across the industrial and production spectrum. Moreover, glass containers can be used repeatedly.

The future expansion of the EU bottle, jar, and other glass container market is highly dependent on the economic situation and the standard of living in the industry's main consumer countries. The EU economy has been buoyed by a combination of factors including low oil prices, a low euro exchange rate, supportive monetary policy measures, and increased public expenditure.

However, the boost from cheap oil is bound to gradually wane and the lagged lift from euro's depreciation will soon have run its course. As a result, the pace of private consumption growth, which has been the main growth driver so far, is projected to slow down. However, the gains in employment and a modest acceleration in wage growth should support private consumption. The demand from the domestic consumers continues to be the key driver for glass bottle market in the medium term.

In the light of the factors listed above, the EU glass bottle and container market is anticipated to continue its expansion at a steady annual rate of growth of +1.7% in the medium term, leading the market value to about 10,3 billion EUR by 2020.

Do you want to know more about the EU glass bottle and container market? Get the latest trends and insight from our report. It includes a wide range of statistics on

  • glass bottle and container market share
  • glass bottle and container prices
  • glass bottle and container industry
  • glass bottle and container sales
  • glass bottle and container market forecast
  • glass bottle and container price forecast
  • key glass bottle and container producers

Source: EU: Bottles, Jars And Other Containers Of Glass - Market Report