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Label Market Set for Growth

October 23, 2017  By PrintAction Staff

Just weeks after publishing a report on the future of offset printing to 2022, Smithers Pira releases a new report called The Future of Label Printing to 2022. The label printing market, according to the research organization, is set to expand at an average of 2.8 percent year on year to yield a total value of $39.5 billion in 2022. The Smithers Pira report shows the label printing market in 2017 is worth $34.5 billion globally.

This contrasts with an annual growth rate of just 1.2 percent in the wider print market, explains Smithers Pira, noting that traditional market margins are being eroded by electronic media: “Labels, like packaging are more resilient in the face of this threat, and there is still significant commercial potential especially in newer markets where population are still making the transition to buying more labelled products.”

With over 465 billion A4 sheet equivalents in 2017, according to Smithers Pira, Asia is today 46 percent of the worldwide label market by volume. Above average growth will push this to 48 percent by the end of the Smithers Pira study period. The only region with higher annual expansion across this period is the African market, but its share by 2022 will be less than four percent of global supply.


Smithers Pira notes there is still potential for new label business in mature markets, explaining both the U.S. and EU are set to implement new labelling obligations for pharmaceutical supply chains. For Europe, this is occurring via the Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD), which will be introduced in 2018. It will require each individual package to carry a prescribed unique identifier in a prescribed 2D data matrix format. Tamper evidence features, which are often integrated into label materials for packaging like folding cartons, will also be mandatory under this law.

Smithers Pira continues to explain narrow-web label printers have pioneered the use of digital (toner and inkjet systems) over the past decade, and this trend is far from exhausted with new high volume machines be launched every year.

The value share of digital printing is now 29.3 percent, up from 20.8 percent in 2012 – this will rise to 35.6 percent in 2022. In volume terms, Smithers Pira projects the shares are lower than 13.0 percent in 2017, and 17.9 percent in 2022 – reflecting digital’s concentration in shorter run, higher value applications.

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