Written by Corey Reardon from AWA

Concerns and challenges

Around the globe, cost escalation is a major concern for all label formats, but especially for pressure-sensitive labels, given the complexity and nature of the laminate construction. VIP labels (which now represent a 45% share of the total label market) will drive overall pressure-sensitive label growth globally;  and primary product label applications (with a 44% global label market share) will continue to take market share, but will face of strong competition from the available mainstream alternative packaging and labeling systems: glue-applied labels (currently still enjoying 35% of the global market); sleeving technologies (at 19%); and in-mold labeling (at just 2% of the market). There are now also real opportunities for linerless labeling, with a current tiny share of the market; and there is increasing evidence of direct-to-container product identification print (primarily by inkjet).

Global Pressure-sensitive Label Market by Application Segment, 2018

End-use markets

End-use markets for future pressure-sensitive label development include food, for both primary product and VIP labels, and where the format today holds a relatively modest 27% share. For pressure-sensitive primary product labels, the beverage and the health and personal care markets represent opportunity sectors, since today they claim just 7% and 6% of pressure-sensitive volumes. Featuring both primary product and VIP labels, the pharmaceuticals market is also a target; and of course transportation and logistics – centered on VIP labeling, and today with only 6% pressure-sensitive label usage – is developing strongly around the world.

Asia is a good example of a region with truly positive prospects. Disposable income is rising among the growing middle class, and driving purchase of FMCG products in general, including premium goods. Branding and improved product image will certainly be necessary in this increasingly-competitive, consumer-spend-driven environment.

Global Market for Pressure-sensitive Labels by End Use, 2018
Source: AWA

A changing market profile

Generally, around the world, we can expect to see changes in consumer spending impacting future packaging and label growth in several ways. ‘On-the-go’ food and drink consumption are one popular trend and, of course, the current focus on plastics is having impact of a different kind. Environmental issues will increasingly impact the costs of packaging in general and pressure-sensitive labeling, in relation to issues of food safety, process waste, overall waste reduction. However, for the pressure-sensitive label industry, practical collection/recycling solutions are now readily available.

Research at AWA Alexander Watson Associates confirms that the ‘label’ market is very much alive, and enjoying a broader future outlook than ever.

© 2019 AWA Alexander Watson Associates BV.
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