Labels: Adding Value to Packaging

Forces driving the global label industry
Global trends in product decoration provide challenges and opportunities for label printers around the world.

Label demand

Global label demand (across all technologies) is expected to reach more than 50 billion square meters by 2015. World label demand growth for 2012/13 will be approximately 6-7 percent.

The prime volume markets are foods, beverages, personal care products, and pharmaceuticals. The world’s emerging economies are driving much of that growth. Self-adhesive labels, along with glue-applied labels, still represent together nearly four-fifths of the total label market, but face competition today from sleeving and in-mold labels—both of which are exhibiting positive growth, particularly in the food and beverage markets.

In Europe, the dynamic development in recent years in the eastern countries has slowed somewhat, but remains a key factor in the region’s positive growth. North American self-adhesive label demand growth has been was driven primarily by VIP applications. Asia Pacific takes the largest global share of the overall label market today, and here self-adhesive labels demonstrate healthy growth, with new label laminating companies—as well as converters—proliferating. The newest label market, Africa and the Middle East, combines both mature and unstable economies, but is evidencing healthy overall growth for self-adhesive labels.

Downgauging and secondary use

With its complex make-up, the self-adhesive labelstock is particularly susceptible to raw material price increases—and these have characterized the market for nearly two years, creating margin pressures at every level of the value chain. Prices for platinum—the initiator for silicone release coatings—remain extremely high, and crude oil prices, fluctuating in response to world political issues, continue to be of high concern, particularly in relation to plastic films. While paper labels and release liners continue to dominate self-adhesive label use, film facestocks and release liners are gaining market share. Environmental concerns and the quest for sustainability are encouraging the use of downgauged self-adhesive labelstocks in order to reduce material usage and save cost. Lower-gauge film facestocks and release liners are key players in this arena, with significant reductions in basis weight achieved.

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