The German glass industry reported a decline in glass sales of 4.6% in 2020.

The flat, automotive and special glass sectors all reported a decline in sales, while the container segment reported an increase in sales.

Despite the negative balance, companies in the various glass industries are cautiously optimistic about their business expectations.

The total turnover of the glass industry in Germany fell in 2020 by 4.6% compared to the same period of the previous year to around €9.35 billion (2019: €9.81 billion).

Figures from the Federal Statistical Office show that domestic and international sales both declined with a decrease of 4.0 and 5.5% respectively.

At a glance

The corona crisis led to a negative conclusion in almost all glass industries in 2020: the manufacturers of commercial glass recorded the highest losses with a decline in sales of 37.8% to €381 million (2019: €612 million).

The industry was particularly affected by the corona-related closings in the hotel and catering sector, as fewer tableware, such as drinking glasses, were sold as a result.

Flat glass manufacturers closed 2020 with a decline in sales of 9.6% to €935 million (2019: € 1.03 billion). The sector was particularly hard hit by the standstill in the automotive industry, for which it is an important supplier. Flat glass refiners also closed the year with a decline in sales of 3.1% to €3.66 billion (2019: €3.78 billion).

The manufacturers of glass fibres and special glass recorded more moderate losses: In the glass fibre segment, sales fell by 0.9% to €983 million (2019: € 991 million).

The special glass industry recorded a decline in sales of 0.4% to €1.35 billion (2019: €1.36 billion).

In contrast, the container glass industry remained constant compared to the previous year: Sales rose by 0.4% to €2.05 billion (2019: €2.04 billion).

The industry benefited slightly from the shift in the consumption of food and beverages to the home and was thus able to compensate for losses caused by the closure of catering establishments.

Production at the manufacturers of pharmaceutical glass was running at high pressure, and with millions of glass containers for filling vaccines against the coronavirus, they are making a decisive contribution to containing the pandemic.

BV-Glas President Dr. Frank Heinricht said that in view of the advancing vaccinations and the expected relaxation of the pandemic situation in summer, the glass industry is cautiously optimistic about business expectations for 2021.