Self-adhesive label use in Europe has now exceeded five billion square meters (53.8 billion square feet) a year as sales in 2006 soared overall by 7.7 percent, according to Jules Lejeune, managing director of FINAT, the European label association.
Over the last 10 years, the use of self-adhesive labels has grown by 86 percent — from just under three billion square meters in 1996 to last year’s 5.28 billion square meters, he told FINAT’s annual Congress in Berlin. It passed the three billion square meter mark in 1997, and topped four billion square meters in 2002.
The downside is that pressure on margins is keeping profitability low. “I have shown you positive growth figures, but we are in this business to make money; and profitability, after showing negative signs in recent years, is still very low. However, our survey does show that consumer and business confidence across Europe is upbeat,” he said.
Nevertheless, last year’s growth was achieved in each of the industry’s main areas — paper rolls, non-paper rolls, paper sheets, and non-paper sheets — although when examined across the five regions of Europe (Scandinavia, UK and Ireland, Central, Southern and Eastern Europe) growth patterns were erratic.
Lejeune pointed out that in the paper rolls market, Eastern Europe led the way with a 15 percent growth (from a low base), followed by Southern Europe (up 6.9 percent), Central Europe (up 6.7 percent), with Scandinavia only showing a four percent increase and the UK and Ireland barely changing with just a 0.3 percent improvement. Overall paper roll sales grew by 6.4 percent.
But in the non-paper rolls market — the fastest expanding sector — Scandinavia showed a 20.8 percent increase in demand and the UK and Ireland 6.4 percent. Southern Europe lagged behind with only a 5.8 percent improvement, but Central Europe (16.2 percent) and Eastern Europe (28.2 percent) had the largest expansion. Over the whole market non-paper rolls expanded by 13.2 percent.
Similarly in the paper sheet market, Scandinavia showed a 23.5 percent fall, prompting Lejeune to