Here are some Converting Curmudgeon
- 2017 global labeling-material production was 62 billion sq meters for pressure-sensitive,
glue-applied, shrink, sleeve and in-mold labeling.
- Worldwide labeling-material output by region last year was 44% Asia-Pacific, 25% Europe,
19% North America, 8% South America, and 4% Africa-Middle East.
- Sleeve labeling now commands 23% of global primary-product label output by type, or nearly 15 billion sq meters of material in 2017. Glue-applied labeling still dominates at 44% market share, while pressure-sensitive labeling is on par with sleeves at 24%, and in-mold at a minor 3%
- Regionally, Asia-Pacific leads with a 65% share of worldwide sleeve-labeling applications,
followed by Europe at 19%, and North America at 12%.
- Format-wise, heat-shrink (TD) sleeves were the largest segment of the global field at 88% last year. Stretch sleeves had an 8% share, and ROSO (MD) sleeves were 4% of the market.
- 2017 global sleeve-labeling market growth was 5.5%, declining slowly from a few years ago.
By region, Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America were all about on par with each other at 5.5 to 5.8% growth last year.
- Flexible packaging will represent a strong competitor to sleeve labeling (and labeled containers
in general) in the next five years. Higher demand for brand protection and security labeling will also impact the use of sleeve labeling, which needs to answer by way of innovative anti-counterfeiting and new printing systems.
- Digital direct-to-container printing will become a real alternative to labeling in any format for various packaging, especially FMCG. The process may now be slow, complex, and expensive but that will change with technological advancements. P-s labeling is most threatened by digital-direct.
- Among CPCs, about half have a strong interest in using digital-direct product decoration. For the remainder, about 15% each has a limited interest, is in the early days of introducing it, or does not wish to be the first in their market to use it. HBA, beverages and household chemicals are the top end-product applications seeing the greatest interest in digital-direct labeling.
My Thoughts: While good, old-fashioned glue-applied labels will always have their place in the packaging pantheon, I think it’s inevitable that glue-applied (and even p-s labeling) may have seen its best day already. As long as sleeve labeling can seriously address recycling concerns (see photo at top), be it with plastic bottles or metal cans as the primary container, the burgeoning format has nowhere to go but up.