Flexography is the leading label printing technology due to its versatility, low cost, and suitability for use in the large pressure sensitive segment and the faster growing sleeve label segment. However, digital printing will experience double-digit annual advances through 2017 as it continues to displace traditional methods such as lithography and flexography.
Primary packaging accounts for by far the largest share of label demand. Though growth in this segment will slightly trail the overall average, gains will be supported by the importance of labels in differentiating products at retail and influencing consumer purchasing decisions. Secondary labeling and labels used in mailing and shipping applications are projected to achieve the fastest growth through 2017.
Paper will continue to account for the majority of labelstock over the forecast period based on its cost advantages and the ability to be coated for enhanced durability. The use of higher-end materials – metallic and holographic papers, etc. – will also promote value growth. Plastic stock will continue to capture share from paper in a broad range of label applications based on aesthetic and performance advantages, along with a shift in the overall packaging product mix toward plastics. The popularity of the no-label look will also bode well for plastic labels. By 2017, plastic will account for more than 30 percent of label demand in value terms.