Members of GIMAV, the Italian Association of Manufacturers and Suppliers of Machinery, Systems, Accessories and Special Products for glass processing, saw a 2.7% increase in sales in 2019, driven by a 3.7% rise in exports. It achieved overall sales of more than $2.6 billion.

Domestic sales by Italian manufacturers were stable (+0.1%) and, despite sluggish demand (-0.4%), Italian products still fared better than imports (-1.2%). Growth in exports and, at the same time, a decrease in imports worked in favor of the sector’s trade balance (+5.4%) which, at $1.44 billion, accounts for nearly 55% of sales.

“This means that for every Euro invested in the sector, we contribute 55 cents to our country’s positive trade balance,” says Michele Gusti, GIMAV’s re-elected president. “Those who determine our country’s economic and industrial policies would do well to take this outstanding performance into account by rewarding it more!”

The sector’s competitiveness indicators are extremely positive, and both on the upswing – with a 72.2% export share of sales and 61.3% dominance of the domestic market – giving it an ample margin in the area that sets Italy’s excellences apart, according to the organization.

Flat glass processing technologies fell 1.3% compared to 2018, due to small losses in exports (-0.5%) and more marked losses (-3.2%) in domestic sales. However, sector imports, down 4.4%, were even more affected by the slowdown in domestic sales (-3.3%).

2020 Forecast

As is customary, the GIMAV member meeting included a look at forecasts for the current year and a discussion of the results of the 2020 qualitative economic survey, processed in aggregate percentage form.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, member companies had projected positive sector results. Overall, 86.4% of the companies interviewed (Italian and international) anticipated growth and the remaining 13.6% did not foresee any slowing.

In detail, 91.3% of the respondents forecasted a rise in growth when considering only foreign markets (8.7% expected them to be stable); expectations for the domestic market came in at 76.2%, with 19% of the respondents expecting it to remain stable, and the remaining 4.8% forecasting diminishing growth.

The effects of the pandemic have dramatically changed industry scenarios and, to date, it is impossible to make any reliable forecasts of 2020 performance, especially when considering any further developments that might occur, according to the organization.

To make a useful contribution in this regard, the industry report was supplemented with the results of the survey and a snapshot of the situation during the pandemic. In 2019, the months of March, April and May contributed more than 26% of the total to the year’s results in full lockdown. During that period this year, 43% of the companies were shut down and, among the companies that were open, 65% had to stop production completely. Furthermore, 71% of industry companies had to resort to unemployment compensation schemes for at least 70% of their workforce.