Manufacturers of machines for graphic, converting and paper industry: where to export ?

Markets to be monitored on the basis of the map of end-users production and supply chain specialization

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Planning Marketselection Industrial equipment Export Export markets Foreign markets Uncertainty International marketing

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This article was written in collaboration with Acimga (Italian manufacturers' association of machinery for the graphic, converting and paper industry)1.

For the Paper, Graphic, Packaging and Converting Machinery sector, 2019 ended with a weak performance in world trade: according to the pre-estimations formulated by StudiaBo and available in customized ExportPlanning for Acimga, last year global trade in the sector fell by more than 3 percentage points in dollar terms and was substantially stable measured at constant prices.

World Trade of Paper, Graphic, Packaging and Converting Machinery

The growing international uncertainty in the second half of last year has inevitably weakened the demand for machinery, also with reference to such leading markets as the USA2.

The overall lack of dynamism in world demand and the short-term prospects of persistent uncertainty (also due to the coronavirus threat) make a correct choice of target markets even more relevant, especially for a Small-Medium sized Enteprise (SME), by evaluating their medium-term potential in a way that is as well documented as possible.

Measuring the potential of machinery markets...

A data-driven approach for international market selection of SMEs producing investment goods (or intermediate goods, as well) is the joint use of information relating to:

  • their own business area;
  • end-users' industry.

.. by taking into consideration both production levels
and forecasts of end-user segments

With reference to the end-users segments, ExportPlanning for Acimga allows to map both the production and international trade of the following aggregates4 users of machines for the graphic, converting and paper industry:

  • Paper for packaging and other converting purposes;
  • Graphic paper;
  • Flexible Packaging;
  • Paper and cardboard packaging;
  • Plastic Bags/Shoppers;
  • Labels;
  • Graphic and editorial products;
  • Tissue paper;
  • Finished tissue products;
  • Converting products.
Map of world-wide Production 2019 of graphic, converting and paper industry

As documented in the chart above (extracted from customized ExportPlanning for Acimga), it is possible - for 152 countries - to analyse production levels and evolution (from 1995 to 2019, pre-estimated) of the different segments of Graphic, Converting and Paper industry.

Map of world-wide Exports in 2023 of graphic, converting and paper industry

Similarly, in order to get different countries' specialization (measured, as a proxy, in terms of export capacity), it is possible to analyse the forecasts up to 2023 for the different segments of Graphic, Converting and Paper industry.


1) Acimga is the Italian manufacturers' association of machinery for the graphic, converting and paper industry. ExportPlanning-Acimga is the version of ExportPlanning customized for Acimga members.
2) See the following articles:

3) A major obstacle to adequate knowledge of the markets typical of the machinery sector is the wide variety of uses for the products in the sector. The multiplicity of uses tends to limit the ability of a small-medium sized company to know the markets, with the following implications in terms of international marketing:

  • tendency to operate a geographical diversification of the foreign markets served, with the aim of "minimizing" the investment risk, but with the probable result of an accentuation of the management complexity and, above all, with a lower commercial supervision compared to more targeted investment strategies;

  • llimited ability to develop a profiled communication to the market for application areas, able to qualify the company as a partner specialized in proposing specific solutions to the needs of different types of end-users. This limit leads, typically, to a lower possibility of qualitative differentiation compared to the offer of competitors.

4) For details on this, please refer (only for authorized users) to: Acimga End Users Classification.