The printed labels market is changing, fast. Industry-specific drivers such as the ongoing technological innovation in printing techniques and developments in labelling materials, as well as wider economic factors and evolving consumer preferences are all having an effect.
There is also no denying the profound impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on these trends, in many cases accelerating them in unexpected ways. Stephen Lakin, Sales Manager UK and Ireland, BOBST Labels, offered some insight into the megatrends shaping the future of the label market ahead of his session at the FuturePrint and Pack Summit.
Trend #1 - Fast moving consumption
The rise of e-commerce is greatly impacting the packaging and labels production cycle. A key trend bolstered by online retail is the move towards buying everyday necessities such as a full grocery shop online, rather than simply a gift here or an item of clothing there. For the label industry, the need for more products to reach consumers faster resulted in increasingly shorter average run lengths and this will continue to grow into the future. Label printers need to be more agile to meet the needs of a more demanding supply chain. This has increased the need for label printers to supply sophisticated variable data labels as well as track & trace labels for logistics and medical applications and these labels can only be done using digital technology.
Trend #2 - Product embellishment
Premiumisation of packaging has been a growing trend for some time, as brands look to utilise high-quality, luxury packaging to differentiate themselves and position their products as high-end. On top of this, younger consumers tend to place a great deal of importance on the experience of engaging with a product. Retail markets such as food, wine and spirits, cosmetics, and personal care are particularly adept at leveraging the premiumisation of labels and packaging. Embellishments are a substantial element of positioning a product as premium through labels and packaging, with a range of effects including hot foil, cold foil, and tactile effects being used to convey that luxury appearance. High quality and colour consistency are also crucial to brand owners, who know that consumers may come away with a negative impression if the label and packaging doesn’t reflect the quality of the product.
BOBST solutions – Optimizing the production floor by choosing the right technology for the right application
The label market will continue to grow, and the highest growth will be in UV inkjet. All label companies need to move towards a multi-technology environment to deliver more flexibility with higher profitability. This is all about the entire production optimization. This trend will become stronger as price per label continues to decrease due to more productive and automated machines – mainly UV inkjet and ‘All-in-One’ technology – with higher hourly output which leads to lower cost per label and therefore a higher pressure on prices.
The new All-in-One technology (inkjet/flexo) is going to bridge the gap between toner, first generation UV inkjet presses, and flexo. In the inline flexo space, machines will become more digitalized which improves agility and profitability in shorter runs. BOBST offers a range of technology designed to help converters meet these evolving needs and overcome the key challenges as they develop. The BOBST MASTER M5 is the ultimate digitalized flexo press, delivering precision and quality consistency, outstanding productivity and exceptional flexibility. Also offering high quality and high productivity is the BOBST Mouvent LB702-UV stand-alone digital label press, which handles a variety of run lengths allowing for significantly faster turnaround times and the ability to address 90 percent of all label jobs cost effectively.
The BOBST MASTER DM5 combines Mouvent Technology (the digital inkjet technology self-developed by BOBST) with BOBST DigiFlexo automation which ensures accurate registration across both digital and flexo print units. The DM5 opens doors to new products, new solutions, and new market applications. The BOBST family of label products offer customers increased productivity and profitability by focusing on technology integration and digitalization.