European consumption of self-adhesive labels increased 3.2 percent last year to reach 4.9 billion square meters (52.8 billion square feet) in 2005. This represents 72 percent growth over the last 10 years, FINAT members were told at their annual Congress in Warsaw in early June. The organization forecasts an overall 5.8 percent growth this year, with Eastern Europe continuing to show the greatest year-on-year improvement in demand. The organization says an independent research agency compiled the data, based on statistics from the eight largest label stock manufacturers who comprise 85 percent of the industry.
FINAT’s managing director, Jules Lejeune, said growth in the paper roll sector — nearly 75 percent of the business — was up in 2005 by 5 percent. Filmic material roll output reached a 13 percent growth, which is now 2.5 times greater than it was in 1996. Output of paper sheets slumped 4.5 percent, and filmic sheets were down 2.4 percent.
Per capita consumption of self-adhesive labels varies greatly. In the UK and Ireland it represents over 14 square meters (151 square feet) of labels per person per year, compared with about 2 square meters (21.5 square feet) in Eastern Europe. However, this region showed the greatest label sales increase — of 12.6 percent — while label sales fell 1.4 percent in the UK and Ireland. Consumption in Central Europe and Scandinavia was just under 12 square meters (129 square feet) per person, representing a 5.1 percent growth in the former region, but a 1.4 percent decline in the latter. Southern Europe, with just over 6 square meters (64.5 square feet) of labels per person, showed a 2.4 percent sales growth.
Business sentiment has improved markedly since the second half of 2005, which increased the performances of label converters and material suppliers. GDP growth in the first quarter of 2006 was up 2.2 percent across all 25 EU member states, fuelled by higher domestic consumption and exports. However, energy price increases are pushing up industrial producer prices, which are now 6.6 percent higher than a year ago.
(See Page 28 for coverage of the 2006 FINAT Congress.)