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European paper industry - statistics & facts

Despite doubts about its role in the digital age, paper has remained an invaluable commodity worldwide. Although the growing use of smartphones and tablets has resulted in a shift away from traditional printed media, the paper industry is still hugely important. Europe plays a major role in this industry, and in 2019 the European pulp and paper sector reported revenues of 90 billion euros, employing hundreds of thousands of people across the continent.

Paper production in Europe

Europe is home to some of the world’s biggest paper producing countries and is currently responsible for roughly a quarter of global paper production. The 18 European countries that make up the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) produce roughly 90 million metric tons of paper and board each year. Of these CEPI members, Germany accounts for a quarter of paper and board production. This was followed by Finland and Sweden, whose production shares were approximately 11 percent each. These countries are also the leading paper exporters in Europe.

While the demand for graphic paper in Europe continues to decrease due to digitalization, one of the wood-based products that has been growing in demand in recent years is packaging. This growth has mainly been fueled by the online shopping boom. Between 2013 and 2019, packaging paper and board production in CEPI countries increased by roughly 15 percent to 48.6 million metric tons. Case materials accounted for the largest share of paper and board grades produced in Europe, at 36.9 percent, while other packaging papers made up 16 percent. Case materials are used mainly in the manufacture of corrugated board.

Largest paper companies in Europe

Some of the world's biggest paper companies are headquartered in Europe, with many of the key players based in Scandinavia. These include the Swedish paper and forestry company Svenska Cellulosa, as well as Finnish forestry and paper giants Stora Enso and UPM Kymmene. UPM Kymmene was the leading paper company in Europe in 2020, based on a revenue of 8.58 billion euros. These companies produce a variety of paper-based products for a number of purposes, from packaging, printing paper, and newsprint to toilet tissues and baby diapers.

Impacts of COVID-19 on the paper industry

The paper and pulp industry – like most industries - has faced many challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the early stages of the outbreak, a number of paper mills in Europe ceased production due to falling demand. Compared to 2019, the output of newsprint paper and printing and writing paper dropped by 20.5 percent and 18.4 percent, respectively. However, the demand for packaging paper and board boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic, as e-commerce soared during lockdowns. Demand for sanitary and hygiene products – such as tissues – also increased during the pandemic, making the industry as invaluable as ever during these difficult times.

Key figures

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Interesting statistics

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Paper industry in Europe

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European paper industry - statistics & facts

Despite doubts about its role in the digital age, paper has remained an invaluable commodity worldwide. Although the growing use of smartphones and tablets has resulted in a shift away from traditional printed media, the paper industry is still hugely important. Europe plays a major role in this industry, and in 2019 the European pulp and paper sector reported revenues of 90 billion euros, employing hundreds of thousands of people across the continent.

Paper production in Europe

Europe is home to some of the world’s biggest paper producing countries and is currently responsible for roughly a quarter of global paper production. The 18 European countries that make up the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) produce roughly 90 million metric tons of paper and board each year. Of these CEPI members, Germany accounts for a quarter of paper and board production. This was followed by Finland and Sweden, whose production shares were approximately 11 percent each. These countries are also the leading paper exporters in Europe.

While the demand for graphic paper in Europe continues to decrease due to digitalization, one of the wood-based products that has been growing in demand in recent years is packaging. This growth has mainly been fueled by the online shopping boom. Between 2013 and 2019, packaging paper and board production in CEPI countries increased by roughly 15 percent to 48.6 million metric tons. Case materials accounted for the largest share of paper and board grades produced in Europe, at 36.9 percent, while other packaging papers made up 16 percent. Case materials are used mainly in the manufacture of corrugated board.

Largest paper companies in Europe

Some of the world's biggest paper companies are headquartered in Europe, with many of the key players based in Scandinavia. These include the Swedish paper and forestry company Svenska Cellulosa, as well as Finnish forestry and paper giants Stora Enso and UPM Kymmene. UPM Kymmene was the leading paper company in Europe in 2020, based on a revenue of 8.58 billion euros. These companies produce a variety of paper-based products for a number of purposes, from packaging, printing paper, and newsprint to toilet tissues and baby diapers.

Impacts of COVID-19 on the paper industry

The paper and pulp industry – like most industries - has faced many challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the early stages of the outbreak, a number of paper mills in Europe ceased production due to falling demand. Compared to 2019, the output of newsprint paper and printing and writing paper dropped by 20.5 percent and 18.4 percent, respectively. However, the demand for packaging paper and board boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic, as e-commerce soared during lockdowns. Demand for sanitary and hygiene products – such as tissues – also increased during the pandemic, making the industry as invaluable as ever during these difficult times.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the {amountStatistics} most important statistics relating to "Paper industry in Europe".

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