Advances in Printing Technology to Boost US Labels Demand Growth Through 2025

A new Freedonia Group analysis forecasts demand for printed labels to rise 3.2% per year through 2025. Though growth will lag that of unprinted labels – which will expand their share of the market due to the increasing use of VIP – printed labels will benefit from the increased utilization of labels for advanced product promotion, which will drive the use of more appealing, 360-degree coverage and more complex, high-quality graphics.

Flexographic and digital printing will continue to expand their share of the market at the expense of all other printing techniques (i.e., lithographic, screen, gravure, and letterpress printing). While digital will capture share from flexography in shorter runs, label printers will increasingly use flexo and digital in combination to take advantage of flexography’s cost-effectiveness for longer runs and digital’s for shorter runs.

Digital Printing Continues to Outperform All Other Printing Technologies

Going forward, digital printing will not only supplant established technologies, it will also generate new labeling applications, both in primary packaging and VIP applications. This expansion will be based on the unique characteristics of digital that will allow for the labeling of products that were previously viewed as impractical applications for conventional printing methods.

Factors fueling expanded adoption include:

  • ongoing improvements in the print quality and speed of digital presses
  • digital printing’s suitability for short run applications, which coincides with the trend in many consumer goods markets toward more product variation and personalization
  • technological improvements that will enable digital printing to compete increasingly in larger-run applications, which have been dominated by traditional printing methods
  • the commercialization of auxiliary digital printing stations for conventional (e.g., flexo/screen) label presses
  • lower barriers to entry in label printing, creating increased opportunities for small converters as well as start-up converters

Want to Learn More?

Labels is now available from the Freedonia Group. This study examines the scope, size, and growth of the US labels industry in value and square meters, and analyzes key trends by application method, label stock, market, and printing technology. Historical data are provided for 2010, 2015, and 2020 with forecasts for 2025 and 2030. Also provided is an analysis of key industry players and their market shares.

Application method demand is provided for the following types:

  • Pressure Sensitive
  • Glue-Applied
  • Stretch Sleeve & Heat Shrink
  • In-Mold
  • Heat Transfer
  • Other Application Methods

Label demand is also presented for the following label stocks:

  • Paper
  • Plastic (polyethylene, polypropylene, PVC, and other)
  • Other Label Stocks (metal, ceramic)

Label demand is also presented by market:

  • Primary Packaging (food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics & toiletries, other primary packaging)
  • Secondary Packaging
  • Industrial
  • Mailing & Shipping
  • Decorative
  • Other Markets

Demand for labels by printing technology is also included:

  • Flexographic
  • Lithographic
  • Digital
  • Screen
  • Gravure
  • Letterpress