MARKET TRENDS: Labels in the Lead

U.S. label shipments to reach $18.3 billion in 2011.

Photo: The Coca-Cola Co.

U.S. label shipments are forecast to increase 5.1% annually to $18.3 billion in 2011. The best opportunities are anticipated for the pressure-sensitive segment, which accounts for the majority of label shipments. Pressure sensitives will face increased competition from other application methods, such as stretch sleeve and heat-shrink labels, which will post more rapid advances. Gains in the stretch and shrink segment will be driven by increased use in the large beverage packaging industry. Advances in resin technologies will also support growth. These and other trends are presented in Labels, a new study from The Freedonia Group Inc., a Cleveland-based industry research firm.

Paper will continue to dominate the label industry, but will slowly lose market share as the use of plastic stock materials expands rapidly. Advances will be based on the aesthetic and performance advantages of plastic labels; the growing use of plastic packaging; and the popularity of labeling methods that rely heavily on plastic substrates. Oriented polypropylene will exhibit the fastest growth among the major label resins, further supplanting polyvinyl chloride.

Primary packaging will remain the major market for labels through 2011, although labels used in secondary applications will post the fastest gains overall. A growing interest in the use of labels as a tool to create a strong brand identity will provide favorable opportunities for labels in the primary packaging industry, as will a rising interest in labels as a means of serving value-added functions such as enhancing security and providing expanded product information. Going forward, secondary labeling will benefit from continued demand for bar coding labels; the utilization of radio frequency identification (RFID); and electronic article surveillance (EAS).

Most of U.S. label shipments are comprised of labels printed in some manner before sale to the final user. Flexography, which will experience above-average advances through 2011, represents the most commonly used label printing method. A number of other printing techniques are also employed, including lithographic, screen, letterpress, gravure and digital. These processes are commonly combined in the label industry. Digital technology, for instance, will be increasingly incorporated with conventional techniques. Digitally printed label shipments will continue to expand at double-digit pace through 2011, aided by a growing trend toward the use of mass customization.

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


Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Adhesives & Sealants Industry Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

ASI April 2014 Photo Gallery

Our April 2014 issue is now available!


ExxonMobil Tackifier Expansion

Dwight Tozer, vice president of ExxonMobil’s Adhesion Industry business, discusses the company’s latest tackifier expansion project with Editor-in-Chief Susan Sutton.

More Podcasts

Adhesives & Sealants Industry Magazine

ASI march 2015 cover

2015 March

Welcome to our annual Raw Materials, Chemicals, Polymers and Additives Handbook!
Table Of Contents Subscribe

Paid Leave

President Obama recently announced he wants U.S. businesses and the federal government to provide paid sick leave and paid parental leave to all workers. Do you think this is a good idea?
View Results Poll Archive


Handbook of Sealant Technology

The Handbook of Sealant Technology provides an in-depth examination of sealants, reviewing their historical developments and fundamentals, adhesion theories and properties, and today’s wide range of applications.

More Products

ASI 2014 Buyers GuideASI's Buyers' Guide

Annual purchasing resource for equipment used in the manufacture/formulation of adhesives, sealants, pressure sensitives, tapes and labels and for application of finished adhesives. 


facebook_40px twitter_40  youtube_40pxlinkedin_40 google+ icon ASI 30px

Clear Seas Research

With access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.