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Germany Plastics Market

The German plastics market is the largest in Europe. U.S. manufacturers offering innovative plastics materials and auxiliaries have best prospects. 

Germany is the largest plastics market in Europe.  International companies appreciate its central location within the EU, favoring shipments into other European countries. Germany offers good potential for innovative U.S. plastics materials and equipment.  In 2020, over 3,000 firms with more than 320,000 employees were active in the German plastics industry, achieving annual sales of EUR 61.5 billion. The local plastics industry consists of three main pillars: processing; machinery and materials. About 70% of Germany’s plastics machinery is exported. The materials segment is the most attractive plastics market sector for U.S. manufacturers in Germany, offering U.S. companies best market chances. Below are some best prospects for U.S. manufacturers. German industry is highly receptive to innovative U.S. products that are appreciated for their high quality.

  • Lightweight Materials
  • Green products, such as bio-based additives or “green” chemicals; bio-based plastics materials
  • Additive manufacturing materials and equipment
  • There is good potential for plastic construction products
  • Rather than standard machinery, innovative peripherals from the United States have good prospects, for example quality control instrumentation or testing devices  
  • New materials with special features
  • Hybrid materials or composites, a material mix that allows new or improved product characteristics
  • Flexible solar cells or displays; electronics on foil, organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) as in light emitting wallpaper; materials for smart textiles
  • Innovative Packaging for food, such as ”intelligent” packaging or, packaging with security features to prevent fraud (specialty inks, holographic enhancements)
  • Recycling Solutions

Environmental and sustainability concerns make the EU push towards more plastics recycling. As of now, recycling capacities, also in Germany, are limited. According to EU planning, 11 million tons of plastics are supposed to be recycled every year by 2025, compared to today’s 5 million tons annually. Recycling solutions, equipment and auxiliaries are urgently needed. 

The major channels of distribution in the German plastics industry are: Direct purchase or B2B marketplaces for standard materials and, distributors which are favored for the marketing of new materials and equipment. Unlike in the United States, agents are less frequently used in the German plastics market. In addition to pricing, quality and supplier reliability are major buying factors. In an industry, where production standstill can cost a fortune, fast response time is essential. The products marketed in Germany need to comply with local and European regulations. For U.S. companies seeking exposure in Germany as well as in other countries, K’ Show might be of special interest. K’, the world’s largest trade event for plastics, rubber materials and machinery, takes place in Dusseldorf, October 19-26, 2022. For further information contact Office.Dusseldorf@trade.gov

02/26/2021