Production by all European tube manufacturers totalled 15.5 billion tubes in 2018. 10.9 billion of these tubes and thus around 70 per cent of the total were manufactured from etma members.

When adjusted for the tubes produced by its new members, the etma figure corresponds to growth of 1.4 per cent compared with the previous year.

etma president Oliver Höll’s assessment of the figures is equally positive: “We’re satisfied with the market situation in 2018. Production capacities were well utilised. We expect demand for tubes to remain stable in 2019, too, because our most important markets, namely cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, toothpaste and food, are proving to be very robust. However, we’re somewhat concerned about the considerable increase in costs for energy, transport, coatings and printing inks. Nevertheless, all in all I’m confident about the future market developments for our industry and our member companies’ prospects.”

Of the 15.5 billion tubes supplied by European manufacturers to the various packaging markets in 2018, 38 per cent were made of laminate. Aluminium tubes rank just behind with a share of 35 per cent and the remaining 27 per cent are made of plastic.

The broadly diversified cosmetics sector remains by far the largest market for tubes in Europe, with a 47 per cent share of annual production. It is followed by the markets for toothpaste and pharmaceutical products, which each account for around 20 per cent. The food sector, with about 8 per cent, and household goods, with about 5 per cent, are also important end-use markets.

According to etma secretary general Gregor Spengler, the figures demonstrate the versatility of tubes and their potential for almost universal use: “Tubes are characterised by maximum functionality and consumer friendliness. With their three material variants, namely aluminium, laminate and plastic, they facilitate the use of customised and resource-efficient packaging solutions for a wide variety of applications. Therefore, our industry can look to the future with optimism.”  

The etma World Tube Congress, which takes place in Hamburg on 23 May 2019, will provide a good opportunity to look ahead and bring together the entire supply chain for the tube as a packaging material. Besides discussing current market developments and the latest packaging trends, there will also be discussion of trends in consumer behaviour throughout Europe, innovative optimisations in the supply chain and the current megatrends sustainability and digital transformation. Embedding these trends in corporate policy is the prerequisite for positioning the tube as a pioneering and modern packaging for the world of tomorrow.