U.S. label shipments are forecast to rise 4.8% annually to $20 billion in 2015, according to a new study, “Labels,” from The Freedonia Group, Inc. The study also reports that the pressure-sensitive segment will continue to dominate output, accounting for more than 70% of the total. Although p-s labels will expand at a healthy rate, they will continue to face growing competition from alternative labeling methods such as stretch-sleeve, heat-shrink, and in-mold labels. Among these, heat-shrink labels are projected to advance at the fastest rate through 2015, with gains attributable to their ability to form-fit contoured containers, providing 360-deg graphics and a broad promotional area which enable consumer products to stand out on crowded store shelves.
Also according to the study, paper will remain by far the leading stock material in the label industry for the foreseeable future. However, it will continue to lose market share to plastic, which will account for more than one-quarter of label shipments in 2015. Plastic stock materials will gain popularity due to their aesthetic and performance advantages over paper, as well as a broad shift in favor of plastic packaging. Moreover, plastic is heavily utilized in p-s, heat-shrink, stretch-sleeve, in-mold, and thermal-transfer labels, each of which is expected to grow at a healthy rate.