Packaging & Label Converting

Why growth in digital labels, packaging and embellishment printing is set to stick

Europe’s digital label printing and packaging markets – and indeed those across the world – are poised for substantial growth.

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This is being driven by the growing trend towards greater automation, innovative end-to-end ecosystems, and an increased focus on complete printing production workflows in packaging and label sectors.

Labelling and packaging requirements are becoming ever more complex as data demands grow. Compliance and regulatory environments are tightening. As a result the supply chain will increasingly rely on labelling as a vital source of traceability - especially as it has brand appeal.

It opens up a world of new opportunities for industry stakeholders such as converters, brands, and suppliers. It will help label printers rethink how digital print can refine eco-friendly label printing. 

Smithers’ The Future of Global Print Equipment Markets to 2028 agrees: “Demand for digitally printed packaging remained generally high with products such as labels being produced in volume and no longer being confined to short-run promotional work.” Similarly, digitally printing on corrugate material saw high demand from the packaging industry.

However, FINAT predicted a “soft outlook” for overall growth for the labelling industry that will continue in the first half of 2024, according to the Report & Analysis: The European Narrow Web Market, Finat Radar 21. This was in part due to a “continuous deceleration” in e-commerce sales, which has been a significant driver in recent years. “The slowdown is here to stay, as post-pandemic tailwinds fade and as high inflation and rising interest rates significantly curb demand,” says the report.

Driving the digital printing of labels into the mainstream is manufacturing, retail, transportation, textiles, food and drink, and logistics. Packaging trends show many markets are at the tipping point and ripe for digital production. It supports low and high-volume production as well as creative label design.

An upsurge in digital packaging production and embellishment in the coming years is particularly anticipated in the drinks industry. Print labels with tactile effects with varnish and foils are becoming increasingly important in wine-buyers’ decision-making – especially with regards to their anti-counterfeiting possibilities. You can find out more about this trend's tangible ‘wow!’ effects on paper by reading our specialist blog here.

Confidence in digitally produced wine labels is backed by industry experts. Smithers, The Impact on Changing Run Lengths in Packaging and Labels to 2027 says of the trend: “Over the next five years new digital embellishment technologies will encourage the use of shorter run lengths, something that the wine market will be keen to embrace. Also, with the growth of premium priced wines, security and anti-counterfeiting built into the label is becoming more important to the wineries.”

Our long-standing customer Firus Druck is an example of how digital production can achieve spectacular results that positively impact local, national and international wine brands.

Workflow, software and process automation, together with cloud solutions, are also key efficiency drivers as part of the trend towards ‘smart factory’ printing.

We look forward to closer collaboration with customers and industry partners and are committed to revolutionizing printing technologies and improving supply chain efficiencies.
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