In a nutshell: More Asian, more pressure-sensitive, more high-tech and more digitally printed. That’s the gist of what was revealed by Dr. William Llewellyn, vp-senior consultant with AWA Alexander Watson Associates, at today’s M&A Executive Forum 2011, held in Chicago. Here’s a quick Converting Curmudgeon list of important take-aways:
1. The 2010 global labeling-materials market was about US$26 billion; that translated into a worldwide finished, converted label market of about US$55 billion.
2. The Asia-Pacific share of the global label field will rise from 33% last year to 38% in 2015. Both Europe and North America will see their regional market shares decline by about 2% each over the next five years. South America, currently with 12% of the global label market, will maintain that slice of the business pie.
3. The long-standing battle between pressure-sensitive labels and glue-applied labels will finally tip in the p-s favor. By 2015, they will basically switch percentages compared to 2010, with p-s taking 41% of the global market and glue-applied falling to 40%. Sleeves will command 12%, and IMLs will keep their minor 2% share.
4. As for growth rates, the 2010-2015 CAGRs show p-s, sleeves and IMLs all climbing by 5%. Sales of glue-applied and other label types will still rise by 4% a year.
5. Among the opportunities ahead:
A. More premium products demand improved presentation through labeling. Think 8 colors, foil stamping, embossing, holographic patterns, fancy die-cuts. The more value-added, the more money should go to label converters’ bottom lines.
B. Meeting requirements for sustainability and environmental compliance with labeling. New developments in higher-yield sustainable label materials (biofilms, bioplastics, recycled-content) will go a long way to achieving this.
C. New converting technologies will transform the label field. With more shorter runs and faster leadtimes now the rule, improved (wider, faster, higher-resolution) digital printing will help and take a significant share of the printing-method market. Digital printing will also advance the manufacturing and application of RFID and other intelligent labels. Linerless labels and on-press release-liner laminating may finally catch on.