Developing economies fueling growth of a $44.8bn labeling market

  • By Chris Thorpe
  • September 09, 2016
  • General
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You don’t always need a crystal ball to predict the future. Global packaging experts Smithers Pira have released a new report into the labeling market – and they anticipate significant growth between now and 2021. So how should your business prepare?

Labeling market growth is going to be driven by developing economies and increasing demand for sustainable packaging. That’s according to a new report released by global packaging experts Smithers Pira. With 5.4% growth per year anticipated between 2016 and 2021, The Future of Labels and Release Liners report has declared that the labeling market will balloon to a projected $44.8 billion. Emerging economies, enhanced consumerism and a trend toward eco-friendly packaging are cited as some of the reasons for the strong industry growth. If the forecast is correct, global consumption for labels and release liners will reach 64.1 billion tons by 2021.

Consumers vote with their wallets

The Smithers Pira report notes that consumers are increasingly eco-aware. The environmental credentials of a product – including its packaging – are helping inform consumers’ purchasing decisions. And in a world where nobody seems to have any spare time, that packaging has to be simple too. In a nutshell? Consumers are busy and increasingly eco-minded. They want simple packaging that’s ethical too.

Manufacturers respond to the eco-friendly trend

Sustainability is the watchword. It has rapidly evolved from reluctantly accepted CSR duty to business-critical necessity. Eco-friendliness and waste reduction are spearheading the drive for labeling and packaging that more readily communicates environmental credentials. With a global move towards linerless labels – pressure-sensitive labels without backing paper – the industry as a whole is demonstrating a willingness to adapt to the cultural and political drive towards environmentalism, regardless of the country of production.

Mass consumerism, more stringent regulations

It’s not just the growth in sustainable packaging and labeling that’s fueling industry growth. The Smithers Pira report also predicts that assimilation of western culture and higher disposable income in emergent Asian economies will be another key trend over the next five years. Also cited was the growth in secondary food packaging as well as tightening regulations forcing change in the pharmaceutical sector.


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What does it mean for manufacturing, packaging and coding businesses?

Packaging, printing and coding methods need to reflect the wider public’s increasing desire for products that are simple and sustainable. To remain relevant and financially stable, labeling and coding companies will need to align their strategies with the transition from traditional labeling to more sustainable and ecological processes. That may mean investing in new coding and printing methods that offer clients and brands the opportunity to demonstrate environmental credentials. An example: vegetable oil-based inks allowing for increased recyclability of foodstuffs packaging.

The growth in use of recyclable, natural materials also means emergent economies will be better able to compete with businesses in countries where the packaging and labeling market is more mature. Developing economies such as India, China and Mexico will be better positioned to bear the majority of produce at a cheaper rate while still adhering to green expectations of modern sustainable production.

To wrap up…

As manufacturers respond to consumer demand for sustainability, the demand for economic and eco-conscious packaging production methods will be a key concern for manufacturing, packaging and labeling businesses over the next five years. As the market readies itself for anticipated year-on-year growth of 5.4%, any business worth its ink will be looking to adopt a more sustainable and economic ethos.

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