The emergence of direct-to-package and direct-to-container printing is shaping up as a major threat to traditional label printing; however, for now label printing is still on the rise, to the tune of 4.4 per cent a year.
The insight comes courtesy of the latest global market update on Labelling and Product Decoration from AWA Alexander Watson Associates.
AWA says all the label formats are now facing competition from direct-to-package print, in terms of flexible packaging in particular, which is growing strongly in both the developed and emerging markets.
An additional competitor is direct digital print to plastic, glass, and metal containers, which offers added brand-owner feature options in terms of limited editioning and personalisation.
The current focus on sustainability is also favouring renewed growth in printed cartonboard packaging. AWA reports that these alternative technologies are all benefiting from growth rates higher than those for traditional labelling.
At drupa next year, a host of technology developers will be launching direct-to-carton printing systems.
According to AWA Alexander Watson Associates’ latest research, pressure-sensitive labelling continues to represent a 40 per cent share of the global labelling technologies market, while the old-established glue applied technology claims second place with a 35 per cent market share, and the sleeve labeling technologies now represent a solid 19 per cent share – and are still growing.
AWA’s 2019 Labeling & Product Decoration Annual Review draws a detailed portrait of a market which, like all aspects of the packaging industry, is changing.
In 2018 AWA estimates that worldwide demand for all label types approximated to 64,245 million square meters – a healthy growth of 4.4 per cent over 2017 volumes, in line with global GDP.
The largest regional market continues to be Asia, with a 44 per cent market share, and the leading growth drivers around the world are China, India, South East Asia, and the eastern European countries.
VIP labels are a major contributory force, reflecting the increased activity in e-commerce and transportation and logistics. This is particularly true for pressure-sensitive labels – which command the majority share of VIP labelling.
Sleeve labels – particularly heat-shrink sleeves – continue to provide the main source of competition to pressure-sensitive and glue applied labels in the food and beverage market segments, and also to the in-mould labelling formats in household chemicals.
The changing market profile, along with raw material pricing, M&A activities in the industry, choice of labelling substrate, and perceptions of the market’s future directions are at the heart of this thirteenth AWA Global Labeling & Product Decoration Market Update 2019. Featuring enhanced data on primary product labeling, end-user markets both globally and regionally, and label market growth trends, the report complements the company’s in-depth studies that closely monitor the behavior of individual geographical markets, labeling technologies, and end-use markets for labels and product decoration. Full details are available via the website, www.awa-bv.com, where the report may also be ordered online.