Printers Survey 2018: What is happening in the label industry?

What requirements do label printers and converters have to meet in today’s printing industry? Will 2018 be a compelling year of innovation or more a year of reflection and consolidation? What was the most important trend in 2017 that the label industry should keep in mind? The editorial team of NarrowWebTech asked label printers, converters and associations for their opinions. We publish a range of answers as an interview series during the upcoming weeks.

Two opposite trends?


Customers’ requirements are becoming more and more challenging. First, the increasing efficiency of printing presses with a higher degree of automation, faster press speeds, high-tech inspection and web guiding systems for fewer interruptions and, just as important, faster job changes. Twenty years ago, three minutes for a job change would be unconceivable. This means that  not only the prepress area gains in significance, but also all the processes around the printing operation itself.

Second, a label is not just a label anymore. Opportunities being offered through digital printing, inkjet and toner-based (individualization, shorter runs, personalization), adding high value through embellishment and finishing or the installations of 10-,12- or 14-colour presses are just some of the most relevant trends label printers will have to face in 2018. It is reasonable to accept that one in three label printers are considering buying a digital press within the next 6 to 12 months [editorial comment: reported at European Label Forum in June 2016] and 78% are interested in acquiring a new digital printing line within the next three years.[01]

Growing label demand

In general, the global demand for labels is projected to increase 4.1% per annum. According to Mike Richardson from The Freedonia Group, the largest regional label markets are where the most manufacturing activity is located, including North America, Western Europe, and the industrialized areas of the Asia/Pacific region.

Printers Survey 2018 – Three questions:

  1. Looking back at 2017, what were the most important developments in terms of technology and production workflow to affect the label industry?
  2. What do you expect in 2018? What trends or developments will be most relevant?
  3. Do you intend to invest in new equipment, e.g. digital printing press? What plans do you have for 2018?
Find answers to our 2018′ survey amongst label printers, converters and associations:

You want to read the survey as it was published in our print issue? Download the whole survey as layouted articled for free in our online shop! 

[01] “FINAT Digital Label Study“: Jennifer Dochstader and David Walsh, LPC, “Current Status and Prospects for Digital Printing in the European Narrow Web Sector”, FINAT European Label Forum, Berlin

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