World label demand to approach 58 billion square meters in 2018
Demand for labels will be driven by improved growth in manufacturing activity, as the global economy continues to gain momentum following the recent downturn. While the Asia/Pacific will continue to be the largest and fastestgrowing regional market, the strongest improvements over the performance of the 2008-2013 period will be in North America and Western Europe.
Dominant pressure sensitive labels segment to gain market share
Pressure sensitive labels will remain the largest product type and continue to take market share from glue-applied products in many major packaging applications, including food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics. Pressure sensitive labels benefit from a number of qualities, including ease of usage, diversity of applications and graphics, and versatility. In addition, minimal set-up and clean-up time, combined with rapid changeover, make these labels more adaptable for short-run lines. Moreover, the application speed of pressure sensitive labels is now significantly faster than many other application systems, creating greater efficiencies and overall cost savings despite higher unit costs.
Above-average demand growth through the forecast period is also expected in stretch sleeve, heatshrink, and in-mold labels, though gains in these relatively newer label technologies will come from relatively small bases, and mainly in more developed markets. For example, stretch sleeve labels will benefit from their appealing graphics that encompass entire containers, as well as superior moisture resistance.
While demand for glue-applied labels will see below-average growth, this segment will remain the second largest overall. Sales of glue-applied labels will continue to be supported by their low material costs and rapid application speeds. However, the inconsistency in application and placement of glueapplied labels, as well as their more difficult clean-up and generally inferior aesthetics, will serve to limit demand gains.
Plastic stock materials will continue to benefit from a broad shift in favor of plastic packaging, as well as from their aesthetic and performance advantages over paper-based label stocks. However, paper labels will maintain an appreciable market presence.
Growth opportunities continue in developing regions
Overall, label demand will grow most rapidly in the developing world, with much of the gains in demand attributable to China, India, Indonesia, and a number of smaller markets in the Asia/Pacific region. Growth opportunities will also be substantial in South America, and much of Eastern Europe and the Africa/Mideast region. Advances in demand in China are expected to decelerate, counter to the global trend, but China will still remain among the world’s most rapidly growing market.