Figures released by the British Aerosol Manufacturers' Association (BAMA) show 1.521 billion aerosol cans were filled in 2019.
The statistics reveal a small drop compared to the previous year's performance. Amid the uncertainty posed by Brexit and now the COVID-19 pandemic, these figures have been welcomed by the industry, according to BAMA, reflecting the sector's resilience and the continued popularity of the aerosol format among consumers.
The personal care sector still accounts for the largest volume of products, with antiperspirants remaining the top seller in this sector and across the entire industry. BAMA's data shows that 484 million antiperspirants were manufactured in 2019, an increase of 7% on 2018 figures. Haircare products also saw an increase of 3%, which BAMA says points to continued innovation, particularly in the dry shampoo category, with products such as waterless mousses and dry conditions increasing in popularity.
"The UK aerosol industry showed its resilience despite the uncertainty surrounding trading and political matters throughout 2019," said BAMA chief executive Patrick Heskins. "In spite of the closure of one of the UK's major filling companies, and the uncertainties created by the decision to leave the EU, aerosol filling in 2019 only showed a reduction of 1% compared to 2018.
"Looking ahead, COVID-19 presents an altogether different challenge for all of us, but the figures prove that the aerosol industry is nothing if not innovative and resilient."
BAMA's statistics showed that the production of personal care aerosols continues to lead UK aerosol manufacturing, with more than 74% of the cans filled in this area. However, there was a drop in the production of shaving foams and gels due to the "ongoing trend for men to sport beards".
In the household sector, volumes remain strong at just over 17%. The production of household products in aerosol format, such as air fresheners, increased in 2019. The figures showed there was also continued growth in the volume of over-the-counter medicines dispensed as aerosols.
The volume of industrial and automotive aerosols filled took a hit, as a result of some production moving overseas following the closure of the McBride facility in Hull. This, alongside the drop in shaving products being filled, caused a "shift" in the number of tinplate and aluminium aerosol cans being used, with aluminium now accounting for 57% of the market, up approximately 7% on last year.
Patrick added: "Aerosols will continue to provide a convenient solution for both commercial and consumer use. I have no doubt we will continue to see sustained growth in household products and hard surface cleaners, for instance, as well as personal care products. Further growth in medical and pharmaceuticals also seems very likely in the years ahead.
"In the face of unprecedented and continued market challenges, as well as an uncertain political landscape, the aerosol industry has continued to perform strongly and has clearly demonstrated its significance in UK manufacturing and to the wider economy once again."