BASF Report 2023

Trends in Key Customer Industries

Global demand for goods grew only weakly in 2023. The high inflation rates in many countries reduced private purchasing power and dampened growth in consumption overall. Demand for consumer durables continued to decline as consumers had front-loaded purchases during the coronavirus lockdowns. Rising interest rates and the high level of economic uncertainty also reduced companies’ willingness to invest. However, catch-up effects led to high rates of growth in the automotive industry.

Global industrial production expanded by only 1.4% overall in 2023 (2022: +2.9%). Industrial production in the advanced economies declined by 0.4% (2022: +1.6%); in the emerging markets, by contrast, industrial production grew by 2.8% (2022: +3.9%). In the E.U., industrial production declined by 1.7%; in North America, it only rose by 0.9%, while in Asia it grew by 2.9% overall. Despite the weak economy in China, the growth in global industrial value creation came almost exclusively from there (total global growth contribution +1.4 percentage points, 1.3 percentage points of which came from China). The E.U.’s global contribution was negative at around –0.2 percentage points. All the other regions only contributed little to global industrial growth overall.

Global automotive production grew dynamically by 9.4% or 7.7 million units in 2023 to a total production of 90.1 million passenger cars and light commercial vehicles (2022: +6.7%, 82.3 million units), thus reaching the pre-coronavirus pandemic level again. High growth was achieved in all regions. At 12.5%, growth was highest in the E.U.; in North America (+9.5%) and Asia (+9.0%), rates of growth were somewhat slower. In terms of unit sales, growth was highest in Asia, the world’s largest vehicle market with 51 million units. A total of 4.3 million more vehicles were produced, thereof almost 2.5 million in China and 1.1 million in Japan. However, absolute growth was also very high in the E.U. and North America, with around 1.6 million and 1.4 million vehicles respectively.

Growth in the production of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) was significantly higher than that of the market as a whole: A total of 2.3 million more BEVs were produced; this corresponds to growth in this segment of around 28% compared with the previous year. Consequently, electric vehicles’ share of all vehicles produced rose from around 10% in 2022 to around 12% in 2023.

Growth in key customer industries (Real change compared with previous year)




Industry total






Of which: automotive industry



Energy and resources






Consumer goods






Health and nutrition






Production in the construction industry was impacted in many countries by the continued rise in interest rates and the persistently high construction costs. The real estate crisis in China had a substantial impact on global growth in residential construction, as Chinese residential construction accounts for around a quarter of the global residential construction market. While residential construction in all major economic areas contracted by around 3.5% overall on the basis of partially estimated figures, moderate growth continued to be recorded in the construction of other buildings (+2.9%). Growth in industrial construction was particularly high in the United States, which benefited from subsidy offers for the semiconductor industry. Infrastructure construction continued to expand dynamically worldwide (+6.8%). However, the global construction industry expanded by only 1.8% overall in 2023 (2022: +2.6%).

In the consumer goods industry, production stagnated in 2023 (–0.1%) after growing by 2.9% in the previous year. In the furniture industry, production declined by more than 6%, while it declined by just under 3% in the textile industry. By contrast, the production of chemicals for the manufacture of care products grew moderately by around 2%.

The electronics industry only grew slightly (2023: +0.8%, 2022: +4.9%). Production fell in communication electronics, while it stagnated in electronic components, computers and peripheral devices overall and there was a moderate increase in classic entertainment and other electronics.

The energy and raw materials sector expanded by around 0.9% in 2023 (2022: +3.6%). Oil and gas production stagnated overall. Oil production cuts by the OPEC+ countries were more than offset by higher production in North America, resulting in a slight increase in oil supply overall. The production of liquid gas also increased slightly, while Russian gas exports via pipeline fell significantly. The low production growth in industry and the warm weather reduced demand for gas. The weak global industrial economy was also reflected in only slight production growth in other industrial non-energy raw materials.

Production in health and nutrition almost stagnated in 2023, at 0.7% (2022: +2.7%). In the pharmaceutical industry, production stagnated as well: Growth in the E.U. and North America was offset by a decline in Asia. Production in the food industry declined in the E.U. and in North America against the backdrop of high food inflation rates. Conversely, production rose moderately in Asia.

At 3.1%, agriculture grew more strongly than in the previous year (+1.9%). While production in Asia saw growth of 3.5%, growth in North and South America accelerated following the long periods of drought in 2022, from –1.6% in 2022 to 2.8% in 2023. Agricultural production in Eastern Europe also grew again by nearly 4% following the war-related decline of 1.2% in the previous year.

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