Spanish Market Shrank Before Pandemic


Spain’s lubricants consumption began fading last fall and then declined sharply earlier this year due to the impacts of COVID-19 – dropping more than 50% year-on-year in April – according to a report by Siagus, a non-profit entity that manages used lubricants in the country.

The organization’s recently released 2019 sustainability report noted that the country’s lubricants demand flattened in 2019 and then began declining, especially after last summer. It noted that 2020 had already brought a significant recession, before major declines due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Spain’s monthly lubricants consumption in 2019 peaked at around 28,000 tons in July, up 2% from July 2018. Lubricants consumption steadily declined from October last year. This year it slipped 13% year-on-year to around 22,000 tons in January, and by 21% to around 21,000 tons in March. In April lubricants consumption collapsed by 55%, dwindling to around 10,000 tons.

Between 2013 and 2019, annual lubricants demand in Spain grew 11.1% to reach just shy of 300,000 metric tons, up from almost 270,000 tons in 2013, Sigaus estimated. The country’s lubricant demand saw year-on-year upticks of 3.6% in 2013, 4.8% in 2014, 2.5% in 2015 and 1.9% in 2018. Slight declines occurred in 2017 (1.2%) and 2019 (0.8%).

Between 2013 and 2019, lubricants imports volume rose by 69%. “Emerging channels and new online buying habits largely explain this trend, which will be emphasized, starting from the current [pandemic] crisis,” Sigaus said in its report. Lubricants demand volume from the industrial segment was up 13.7% during 2013-2019, and was up 9.8% for the automotive segment over that time.

Refining companies remain the dominant lubricants supplier category in Spain, although other sectors in later stages of the lubricants value chain have grown in recent years. Oil and refining companies supplied 73% of the volume consumed, compared to 18% for lube manufacturers and marketers without refining operations. Other types of companies accounted for much smaller shares: spare parts networks at 3.3%, vehicle manufacturers at 2.3%, lubricant distributors at 1.5%, machinery capital goods manufacturers with 1.3%, and retailers and large distributors at 0.6%.

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