Economic Challenges and Consumer Demand to Impact Label Printing

Printed labels and their use in packaging, logistics and containers is a multi-faceted market undergoing rapid change. Consumers are demanding more customization and technology advancements amid economic trials, according to The Future of Label Printing to 2024, a new report from Smithers Pira.

Economic challenges and consumer demand to impact label printing
Economic challenges and consumer demand to impact label printing

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Despite market challenges, the global demand for printed labels and sleeves in 2019 will reach $41.0 billion. Future growth is forecast to continue strongly through to 2024 at a rate of 4.0% to reach $49.9 billion in 2024, according to Smithers Pira data.

The introduction of cutting-edge digital technology has is placing more importance on economic efficiency. Brands are prioritizing cost reduction, while consumers are demanding value and service from suppliers. This mix of market conditions has led to the rise of hybrid flexo/inkjet, which is a major trend in the label printing industry.

Inkjet on the rise

In 2019, the most commonly used print process for labels is flexography, which has been used to print 403 billion A4 prints or the equivalent with a value of $13.3 billion. However, with annual growth of 3.1% in value and 4.4% in volume over 2014–19, flexo has not kept pace with overall market growth due to the rise of digital printing processes. Electrophotography is the largest of the two digital print processes in 2019, but inkjet has been growing at a much faster rate since 2014. Continuing its high growth, it will overtake electrophotography in volume before 2024.

Greater automation in label printing

Printers are investing in sophisticated management information systems (MIS) that are integrated with specialized inspection and color performance software and technology, and even fully automated press and finishing line set-up systems.

The objective is to run a completely automated and streamlined workflows 24 hours per day that receives job orders by electronic data interchange. Automation is also being applied to warehouse management and shipping.

For more information on these trends and the market outlook for label printing, visit


Make plans to visit PACK EXPO Las Vegas, September 23-25, to see on-trend labeling packaging machinery and materials.

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