The markets for printing and writing papers, where the decline in sales is most striking at 20-40%, are dealing with dwindling newspaper and magazine circulations and fewer commercial printing jobs, especially advertising printing. In addition, there is a decline in office paper consumption due to digitalisation and more home offices.
The decline in packaging paper and board shipments is less glaring, but consumption indicators are also negative. CEPI shows a decline in production of corrugated base papers of around 11 % for the first half of the year, and 18 % for folding boxboard. Retail sales volumes in Europe have been falling since the middle of last year and industrial production is also down compared to last year.
The statistics published by Eurostat for the EU show a 2.4 % lower lying industrial production for July 2023 compared to the same month of the previous year. The Eurostat figures from the retail sector speak an even clearer language: the market segment of food, beverages and tobacco products, which is important for the packaging industry, lost between just under 3 % and 6 % in the months of February to July compared to the same months of the previous year. In the mail order and internet retail segment, sales decline rates of 2 % to 6 % are reported for the same period. In both segments, the decline rates had been falling since May.