JAPAN - Sales of packaging equipment in Japan have picked up over the past two years since the tsunami that devastated much of the country’s east coast. In 2013 the machine sector saw total sales of ¥414 billion, or at today’s exchange rate, US$4.3bn. That’s a 3% increase over the 2011 sales figures, and an absolute Yen value increase of ¥13.5 billion (US$1.35bn).
Of all of the primary packaging equipment sold in 2013, pouch forming and filling machines were the star buys, with a total of 5,686 units delivered, representing a total value of ¥60.5 billion (US$594 million).
In equipment sales value terms, the second hottest items in the Japanese market were bottling equipment, with a total of 3,887 units shipped and installed. This represented a total value of ¥57.9 billion (US$569 million).
Logically, with so many FFS and bottling lines going into the market, filling equipment also delivered a strong performance with total installations of 3,075 units valued at ¥37.8 billion (US$371 million). General container (non-pouch) form and filling equipment also performed well with sales of ¥13.3 billion.
Vacuum packaging machines also did well in 2013 with sales of ¥10.7 billion, while sales of labelling machines increased by 8.6% over the previous year, with values reaching ¥12.9 billion.
At the bottom end of the market, sales of canmaking kit remained flat with sales of just 130 units and a value of ¥1.7 billion (US$16.7 million). While that is good money in anyone’s bank account, it is an area that has seen no growth for the past six years.
Secondary packaging, or ‘outer packaging’ as the Japanese refer to it, remained in depression with only strapping machinery posting reasonable figures of ¥12.4 billion from sales of 64,642 units – that’s approximately ¥191,825 or about $1,884 per unit.
But case gluers (folding carton), tape sealers, typesetting and carton makers all saw negative growth of 5-11%.
However, an interesting sector to watch is the ‘un-casing machine’ sector – automated empty and disassembly equipment — which has been developing over the past three years.
It had a 2013 sales value of ¥400 million (US$19 million), but in 2010 sales were not significant enough to warrant recognition as a machine category. This year, however, ‘un-casers’ have been accorded their own, albeit small, category, an indication that with high labour costs, an ageing population and minor labour shortages, the demand for a machine that will unpack the product is on the increase.
Have you registered for the Packaging Insight Japan Tour 2014 yet? Held in conjunction with TOKYO PACK 2014, this special one-day orientation program offers foreign visitors a unique insight into Japan's US$77 billion packaging industry and will enable you to gain the maximum benefit from your visit to the exhibition.
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