The Asia/Pacific region will be the fastest growing regional market, due to the continued rapid expansion of the already large Chinese and Indian label markets. Although gains will decelerate from the fevered pace registered in recent years, China’s enormous market for labels will account for almost one third of new label demand worldwide through 2018. The Indian label market trails China’s in terms of size and market penetration, but is projected to post even faster growth over the forecast period.
In the US, Western Europe and other more developed label markets, gains will be much more subdued. However, the anticipated growth in these markets will represent an improvement over that of the 2008-2013 period, which included the recent recession. Some countries experienced declines in label demand during that period, and even the better performing markets eked out only modest gains. However, renewed growth in manufacturing activity – especially in such key label markets as food processing – will lead to a reinvigoration of the label market.
While paper facestocks will continue to account for most label demand, plastic and other materials will register faster growth through the forecast period. Plastic and other materials, such as metal foils, offer some advantages over paper, including superior graphics capabilities and simpler recycling processes when used with plastic packaging materials. Some of the decline in market share for paper labels has more to do with other trends in the industry than it does with specific deficiencies of paper products. For example, the fast-growing sleeve segment relies mainly on plastic materials while glue-applied labels, whose market share is declining, are disproportionately paper.