Labels in the Lead

World label demand to reach 42 billion square meters in 2011.

The global label market is forecast to advance at an annual pace of 5.5% to 42 billion square meters in 2011. In value terms, demand will grow 8.3% annually, reaching $100 billion. Gains will be fueled by expansion of the world’s packaged consumer goods markets - specialty beverages, personal-care products and medicinals offer especially good prospects. Also important will be the diffusion of advanced logistics and data-processing systems throughout the developing world, and the development and penetration of technologically sophisticated, value-added labels that serve a range of functions in addition to product identification. These and other trends are presented in World Labels, a new study from The Freedonia Group Inc., a Cleveland-based industry-research firm.

The best gains are expected in the world’s emerging economies, which already account for over 40% of global label demand by area. Label markets in developing countries will enjoy robust growth, fueled by generally healthy economies, rising populations and expanding consumer sectors increasingly able to satisfy their desire for foods, beverages, personal-care items, and other highly packaged consumer products. China, which recently surpassed Japan as the world’s second-largest label market after the United States, will continue to log double-digit demand growth. India and East European markets, such as Poland and Russia, also offer especially favorable prospects.

Traditional packaging uses are more mature in the developed economies of North America, Western Europe and (especially) Japan, where labels also face stiff competition from direct printing. Still, labels will find opportunities in new applications in inventory control, product security and others.

Pressure-sensitive labels, which surpassed wet glues as the leading label type in the late 1990s, will account for 55% of the global market by 2011. Gains have slowed in recent years, as growth markets such as wine and electronic security have matured, and plastic sleeve, in-mold, and wraparound labels have cut into pressure-sensitive strongholds such as beverage packaging. In terms of materials, plastic labels will continue to penetrate traditional paper applications, capturing nearly 30% of the world market by 2011.

For more information, contact Corinne Gangloff, The Freedonia Group Inc., 767 Beta Drive, Cleveland, OH 44143-2326; phone (440) 684-9600; fax (440) 646-0484; e-mail; or visit


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