Focus on Europe: Turkish Packaging Sector Sets Sights on Expansion
5/10/2024 Look into Europe Countries / Market Report

Focus on Europe: Turkish Packaging Sector Sets Sights on Expansion

As a major supplier to European companies, Turkey is perfectly positioned geographically to get its goods to customers quickly. Packaging manufacturers are also capitalising on this advantage and are selling increasing quantities on the local market.

Turkish flag on the outlines of the country In 2022, Turkish companies exported packaging materials worth 7.5 billion dollars.

The Turkish economy grew by 4.5 percent in 2023 despite high inflation rates. This was mainly due to robust consumer demand. The packaging sector is also benefiting indirectly from this economic success. Against this backdrop, packaging consumption in Turkey has doubled in the last 20 years to 325 dollars per capita, well above the global average of 125 dollars. Many experts interpret this per capita consumption as an indicator of the country's growing prosperity and industrial development. However, packaging manufacturers not only cover domestic demand – a considerable proportion is also exported directly.

The country's packaging market is continuously gaining in importance and had already reached a volume of around 30 billion dollars by 2022. Compared to global growth in the packaging industry of around 3 percent, the packaging industry in Turkey grew by an average of 7 percent in volume and 9 percent in turnover between 2017 and 2021. According to the Association of Packaging Manufacturers (ASD), companies is used for the packaging of products with an economic value of 490 billion dollars. Zeki Sarıbekir, President of the ASD, emphasises that the growth curve is also due to the fact that the industry is focusing on goods with higher added value. This should pay off in the future: Manufacturers are aiming for the 50 billion dollar mark by 2030.


Ambitious export targets

In 2022, Turkish companies exported packaging materials worth 7.5 billion dollars, which corresponds to an impressive 15 percent growth compared to the previous year. According to preliminary figures from the association, the industry could end 2023 with an export value of around 8 - 8.5 billion dollars. The companies have set themselves even more ambitious targets for the future and want to generate at least 20 billion dollars from the export of packaging materials by 2030.

The volume of packaging sold abroad changed from 3.93 million tonnes in 2021 to 3.26 million tonnes in 2022, with plastic packaging unsurprisingly accounting for the lion's share at 63 percent. Exports of plastic packaging increased by 11 percent compared to 2021 and reached an export value of 4.7 billion dollars. 

However, cardboard packaging is also benefiting from rising demand from customers abroad. According to KASAD (Association of Cardboard Packaging Manufacturers), Turkish exports of cardboard packaging have risen sharply. Paper/cardboard/corrugated board packaging currently accounts for 25 percent of exports, with an export value of 1.8 billion dollars. Metal packaging took third place in the packaging industry's exports with 8 percent. Their value rose from 479.5 to 603 million dollars. 

The top 10 destinations for total packaging exports in 2022 were the UK, Germany, Iraq, Italy, Israel, the USA, France, Russia, the Netherlands and Bulgaria. Imports are also on the upswing. In 2022, the country imported packaging material worth 4.8 billion dollars. In 2021, Turkish companies were still importing packaging material worth just 3.8 billion dollars.


Europe as the main market

Turkey's strategic geographical location enables fast delivery to European countries. Turkish packaging manufacturers are utilising this advantage to further expand their market presence in Europe. Currently, Turkish companies can reach any country in Europe within two days, which is a significant competitive advantage compared to countries such as China. A large proportion of packaging exports (4.5 to 5 billion dollars) therefore also go to Europe. According to the ASD, the country can already cover 10-15 percent of demand on the European packaging market. ‘We can achieve even more in this market. That's why we, as a packaging industry, have declared Europe to be our main target,’ says Zeki Sarıbekir.

In addition to Europe, the Turkish packaging industry is aiming to strengthen its presence in the US market. The industry is therefore planning to further expand its technological capacity and enter new markets.

The continuous growth and ambitious plans of the Turkish packaging industry reflect the transformation of the Turkish economy from a domestic consumption-based to an export-orientated economic structure. This development shows that the Turkish packaging industry is not only establishing itself as a major player in global trade, but will also utilise strategic geographical and technological advantages to further consolidate its position.