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19-12-17 - Jennifer Dochstader and David Walsh, LPC

Outlook 2018: the future remains bright for labels

Over the past four years, LPC, Inc. has had the opportunity to conduct technical surveys and one-on-one interviews with brands across Europe for the compilation of the FINAT RADAR. This work gives us a unique perspective on the European labelling sector, and on the trends and forces that are driving brands to adopt and implement specific labelling technologies and decoration formats.

Throughout these years of extensive research and data collection, two trends dominate:

  1. Prime labels are becoming increasingly complex;
  2. Non-prime labels are becoming increasingly functional.

While the Eurozone economy continues to perform robustly and a recovering labour market and healthy external demand continue to support ongoing label sector growth, brands are persistently seeking ways to connect with their customers. One of the primary methods that enable them to do this is through the types of package decoration they conceptualize and push through the supply chain.

More and more, we are seeing labels become a way for brands to achieve a market-specific approach late in the supply chain. This means shorter runs as SKUs proliferate, and the ability for a label converter to turn around a job quickly given late-stage new design and/or label functionality requirements. This remains one of the forces driving digital press adoption and influences the ways marketing and R&D departments create campaigns and strategise ways to speak to, and captivate, consumers.

The future remains bright for labels. When asked which printed packaging sector delivers the most innovation, again and again brands claim their label suppliers offer more innovation and agility over their flexible packaging, carton and corrugated suppliers. Ours is an industry of change. And to effectively report pertinent market shifts and directional trending, the FINAT RADAR will continue to closely monitor technology preferences and application requirements at the brand level.

As of 21 December, FINAT members can download FINAT RADAR #8 of December 2017, containing an extensive market outlook for labels from the brand-owner perspective.