Injection-Mold | Only 2% of the total label market, but very impressive and sophisticated
If one compares in-mold labeling with PSL, sleeve and wet-glue labels, it is modest in terms of volume and also in terms of value. However, it is a market segment that is highly innovative on the one hand and offers plenty of room for growth on the other.
IML labels are technically very demanding and at the same time complex. For this reason, the number of in-mold printers worldwide, measured against all label printers, is defined as a rather manageable 300 printers.
Even if the labels may not look complicated, this can be deceptive. The technical refinements are in the detail. Substrate inks and coatings must be fine-tuned and carefully considered in order to guarantee smooth functionality in the supply chain and the final moulding process. The slightest deviation could lead to devastating failures and results. In other words: a lot of know-how is required.
The approximately 1.9 million square meters of label material are summarized in many studies as in-mold, but this is deceptive about the true circumstances, which can vary greatly from continent to continent. In-Mold is divided into three label formats:
- In-Mold – IM (Injection Mold)
- In-Mold – BM (BlowMold)
- In-Mold – TF (Thermoforming)
And yes, there are major differences in formats, substrates and end uses.
Traditionally and due to the history of development, the BlowMold format is dominant in the USA, whereas InjectionMold is dominant in Europe and other countries. Thermoforming makes up the smallest area of this format.
Europe is the largest market for in-mold labels, followed by North America. The main countries are Germany, France, Russia and the U.K. Due to technological developments in countries such as Germany, the UK and France, the market for in-mold labels in these countries is expected to grow at a constant rate compared to the rest of Europe. The markets for in-mould labels in Germany and Great Britain are now mature. The smaller and more segmented European markets will reflect the growth figures of lower volumes and smaller print runs. Here, too, we see stronger segmentation in the overall market as it matures.
The European Market Size by Country
The European Market by IML Formats
The European Market by Material
The European Market by End Use
Offset and flexo are competing head-to-head worldwide. Offset can expect growth rates of 5% and more and flexo printing is estimated at 3%. However, some analysts assume that flexo printing will grow most in IML value terms by 2026, reaching $1 billion. The reason for this is the printability of a wider range of polymers with different surface properties and flexibility when dealing with strong segmented markets and brands.
The World Market by Printing Technology
The World Market by Printing Inks
READ NEXT WEEK:
ASIA-PACIFIC | Asia-Pacific is projected to be the fastest-growing market for in-mold labels.