US Labels Market – New Research Available

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This study analyzes the label industry in the United States. In the context of this report, a label is defined as any material adhered to an object to indicate contents, pricing, ownership, directions, destinations, ratings, or other information. Decorative decalcomanias (decals) and stickers are also included.

Excluded from the study are:
•adhesive notes (e.g., 3M’s popular POST-IT notes)
•adhesive-backed envelopes
•cloth and woven labels (e.g., garment labels)
•decorative pressure sensitive tapes
•graphic films
•electronic article surveillance (EAS) tags (although the labels used in conjunction with EAS tags are covered)
•label/form combinations
•labels printed directly onto containers without the use of an intervening substrate
•postage stamps issued by the US Postal Service (however, blank labels for postage meters are included)
•rigid metal labels
•unprinted shrink neckbands

Labels are evaluated by application method (pressure sensitive, glueapplied, heat-shrink and stretch sleeve, heat transfer, in-mold, and other), by stock material (paper, plastic, and other), by printing technology (flexographic, lithographic, screen, digital, letterpress, gravure, and variable information), and by function (primary packaging, secondary, industrial, mailing and shipping, decorative, and other).

Historical data for 2002, 2007, and 2012 and forecasts to 2017 and 2022 are provided for label sales and total shipments in current dollars (including inflation). Volume data (in square meters) are also provided in the aggregate. Raw materials (e.g., paper, plastic films, adhesives, inks, and other) used in the production of labels are also discussed and quantified (in pounds). The term sales is defined as shipments plus imports minus exports, and is therefore synonymous with demand and apparent consumption. The terms “pressure sensitive,” “PSA,” and “self-adhesive”; “plastic” and “filmic”; and “glueapplied” and “wet-glued” are used interchangeably in the study. In addition, the major strategic and competitive variables affecting the US label industry are discussed, and the industry’s major players are identified and profiled. US market share is also presented. The entire study is framed within the context of overall economic conditions, as well as developments and technologies influencing the label industry and its end users. Label sales by company presented in the “Industry Structure” section are estimates based on information from company annual reports and/or fact books, and consultation with multiple sources.

Throughout the study, demand for labels is related to various indicators for comparative purposes and to facilitate further analysis. The macroeconomic indicators used in this study were obtained from The Freedonia Group Consensus Forecasts dated April 2013. Tabular details may not add to totals due to independent rounding. Ratios are rounded to the nearest significant digit. Dollar values cited for the industry are at the basic manufacturer’s level for finished labels, and include the value of label stock as well as the value added by printing, cutting, and other converting and finishing operations (except those performed captively by the end user).

Information and data on the US label industry were derived from a number of sources, including government publications and trade associations, online databases, and direct contact with industry participants. Government sources of historical data included the US Bureau of the Census, including the Annual Survey of Manufactures and Census of Manufactures, as well as various foreign trade and pricing series reports. Also useful were market data and background literature provided by various industry and trade associations, including FINAT, Flexographic Technical Association, Label Printing Industries of America, National Association for Printing Leadership, and Tag and Label Manufacturers Institute.

Secondary data and background information were obtained from various trade publications, including American Printer; Converting Quarterly; Digital Publishing Solutions; Flexible Packaging; FLEXO Market News; Food & Beverage Packaging; Label & Narrow Web; Labels & Labeling; PackagePrinting; Packaging Digest; Packaging World; Paper, Film & Foil.

US label demand to reach $19 billion in 2017

Label demand in the US is projected to reach $19 billion in 2017, with growth accelerating from the 2007-2012 performance based on a strengthened economy. The pressure sensitive segment will remain dominant, accounting for more than 75 percent of the total market. Although pressure sensitive labels will expand at a healthy rate, they will continue to face growing competition from alternative labeling methods for primary packaging, such as stretch sleeve and heat-shrink, and in-mold labels. Among these, heatshrink labels will experience the fastest growth through 2017, with gains attributable to their ability to form-fit contoured containers and their strong visual appeal afforded by 360-degree graphics and maximum promotional area.

Plastic label stock to continue supplanting paper

While paper will continue to account for the majority of label stock through 2017, plastics will continue to expand their share at paper’s expense. The growing use of plastic materials is based on the aesthetic and performance advantages of these labels, as well as the rising utilization of plastic packaging. Additionally, labeling methods that rely heavily on plastic substrates are increasingly popular. A key advantage of film labels is their transparency, which allows products packaged in glass or clear plastic containers to be viewed through the label, achieving the desirable no-label look. The no-label look is also increasingly popular with opaque plastic containers, especially in cosmetic and toiletry applications. Nonetheless, paper label demand will benefit from cost savings and the ability to be coated for enhanced durability.

Digital printing to be most rapidly growing technology

The vast majority of labels are printed in some manner before sale to the final user, and additional printing, such as barcoding or addressing, may be done on site by the customer. Flexography is the leading printing technology in the US and is forecast to log above average growth through 2017, driven by its versatility, low cost, and suitability with the large pressure sensitive segment and the faster growing sleeve label segment. However, double digit annual growth is anticipated for digital printing, which will continue to displace traditional label decoration techniques, such as lithography and flexography. Advances will reflect improvements in print quality and speed that will fuel growing adoption of this technology by label converters and printers. Among the advantages of digital printing are increased design flexibility, shortened lead times, and low costs, especially for short run projects, since there are no plate charges or setup fees that add to the cost of traditional commercial printing. As a result, the use of these presses will be driven by efforts to capitalize on trends favoring shorter label runs and mass customization, particularly as product personalization functions as a key marketing tool.

Pressure sensitive labels to offset material downgauging

Although material consumption will be similar to expected volume growth in label production, gains will be moderated by ongoing efforts to lightweight and downgauge label materials, as well as trends favoring less dense stock materials such as polypropylene. At the same time, raw material demand will be aided by the material-intensive nature of pressure sensitive labels due to the incorporation of adhesives and release liners.

Study coverage

This upcoming Freedonia industry study, Labels, is priced at $5300. It presents historical demand data (2002, 2007, 2012) plus forecasts for 2017 and 2022 by raw and stock material, method of application, printing technology, and function. The study also considers market environment factors, evaluates company market share, and profiles 42 US industry competitors.



General 4
Macroeconomic Outlook 4
Demographic Outlook 8
Consumer Income & Spending 11
Manufacturing Outlook 14
Retail Sales 18
Business Establishments 22
Packaging Trends 25
Packaging Outlook 26
Paper 28
Plastic 29
Metal 30
Glass & Wood 31
Labeling Trends 31
Mailing & Shipping Trends 34
USPS Outlook 34
Automation Technologies 39
Historical Market Trends 40
Pricing Trends 43
Regulatory Issues 45
Environmental Considerations 48
World Markets 52
US Foreign Trade 54

General 57
Barcoding Trends 57
Growth Factors 59
Applications 61
Packaging & Retail 62
Mailing & Shipping 63
Manufacturing & Distribution 63
Other Applications 64
Smart Labeling 66
Technologies & Suppliers 68
Applications 71
Competitive Profile 72
Competitive Technologies 73
Direct Printing 74
Electronic Shelf Labeling 77

General 79
Paper 80
Types 81
Producers 83
Plastic Films 85
Polyethylene 89
Polypropylene 90
Polyvinyl Chloride 93
Other Resins 94
Adhesives 97
Inks 100
Types 100
Technologies 102
Other 104

General 107
Pressure Sensitive 109
Attributes 112
Materials 113
Applications 116
Producers 117
Glue-Applied 118
Attributes 121
Materials 122
Applications 123
Producers 123
Heat-Shrink & Stretch Sleeve 124
Heat-Shrinks 126
Types 128
Materials 130
Applications 133
Producers 135
Stretch Sleeves 136
Attributes 137
Materials 137
Applications 138
Producers 138
Heat Transfer 139
Attributes 140
Applications 141
Producers 142
In-Mold 143
Attributes 146
Materials 149
Applications 150
Producers 151
Other Adhesive 152
Non-Shrink Wraparound 153
Heat-Seal 154
Gummed 155

General 156
Paper 157
Types 158
Application Methods 159
Plastic 161
Types 163
Application Methods 164
Other 165

General 167
Flexography 171
Characteristics & Technologies 173
Applications 174
Lithography 175
Characteristics & Technologies 176
Applications 177
Screen 178
Characteristics & Technologies 179
Applications 180
Digital 181
Characteristics & Technologies 182
Applications 185
Letterpress 187
Characteristics & Technologies 188
Applications 189
Gravure 189
Characteristics & Technologies 191
Applications 193
Variable Information Printing 193

General 195
Primary Packaging Labels 198
Food Processing 201
Applications 204
Label Types 205
Beverages 206
Nonalcoholic Beverages 208
Alcoholic Beverages 210
Pharmaceuticals 213
Regulatory Factors 214
Label Types 215
Cosmetics & Toiletries 218
Applications 219
Label Types 220
Other Primary Packaging 222
Secondary Labels 224
Retail 225
Other Secondary 228
Industrial Labels 230
Motor Vehicles 232
Other Industrial 233
Mailing & Shipping Labels 234
Decorative Labels 237
Other Labels 239

General 241
Market Share 244
Label Stock Producers 245
Label Printers & Converters 250
Competitive Strategies 252
Cost Considerations 254
Mergers & Acquisitions 256
Cooperative Agreements 262
Manufacturing 263
Marketing 265
Distribution 267
Company Profiles 268
Acucote Incorporated 269
Amcor Limited 270
American Fuji Seal, see Fuji Seal International
Applied Extrusion Technologies, see Taghleef Industries
AR Metallizing NV 272
Avery Dennison Corporation 273
BAL, see Illinois Tool Works
Bemis Company Incorporated 279
Brady Corporation 282CCL Industries Incorporated 284
Cenveo Incorporated 288
Chesapeake Limited 291
Collotype Digital, see Multi-Color
Consolidated Products, see WS Packaging Group
Cortegra Group, see Chesapeake
DealerLabel, see Cenveo
Diagraph Marking and Coding Group, see Illinois Tool
Discount Labels, see Cenveo
Donnelley (RR) & Sons Company 293
Dow Corning Corporation 295
Electrocal/Polymark, see Illinois Tool Works
Epsen Hillmer Graphics Company 296
Exxon Mobil Corporation 297
FLEXcon Corporation 299
Fort Dearborn Company 302
Fuji Seal International Incorporated 304
Gilbreth Shrink Sleeve Labels, see Cenveo
Graphic Packaging Holding Company 306
Green Bay Packaging Incorporated 307
Hammer Packaging Corporation 309
Illinois Tool Works Incorporated 310
Intermec Incorporated 313
International Paper Company 315
ITW Texwipe, see Illinois Tool Works
Label World, see WS Packaging Group
Lancer Label, see Cenveo
Lightning Label, see Cenveo
Lintec Corporation 317
Loparex BV 319
Mondi Group 321
Morgan Adhesives, see Bemis
MPI Label Systems 323
Multi-Color Corporation 325
Nashua, see Cenveo
NewPage Corporation 327
Nordenia International, see Mondi Group
Precision Dynamics, see Brady
Printpack Incorporated 328
Ritrama SpA 330
Rx Technology, see Cenveo
Smyth Companies Incorporated 331
Spear USA 333
Spinnaker Coating LLC 334
Standard Register Company 335
Staples Incorporated 337
Stora Enso Oyj 338
StratusGroup, see Donnelley (RR) & Sons
Taghleef Industries LLC 340
3M Company 342
UPM-Kymmene Corporation 345
WS Packaging Group Incorporated 347
YORK Label, see Multi-Color
Zebra Technologies Corporation 350
Other Companies in the Label Industry 352

List of Tables

Summary Table 3

1 Macroeconomic Indicators 7
2 Population & Households 11
3 Personal Consumption Expenditures 14
4 Manufacturers’ Shipments 18
5 Retail Sales 22
6 Business Establishments 25
7 Packaging Supply & Demand 28
8 US Postal Service Mail Revenues & Pieces of Mail Handled 38
9 Label Demand, 2002-2012 42
10 US Foreign Trade in Labels 56

1 Raw Material Use in Labels 80

1 Label Supply & Demand by Application Method 108
2 Pressure Sensitive Label Demand by Material 112
3 Glue-Applied Label Demand by Material 121
4 Heat-Shrink & Stretch Sleeve Label Demand
by Type & Material 126
5 Heat Transfer Label Demand by Material 140
6 In-Mold Label Demand by Material & Molding Process 146
7 Other Adhesive Label Demand by Material 153

1 Label Demand by Stock Material 157
2 Paper Label Demand by Type 159
3 Paper Label Demand by Application Method 160
4 Plastic Label Demand by Application Method 162
5 Other Label Demand by Application Method 166

1 Label Demand by Printing Technology 170
2 Flexographic Label Demand by Type 173
3 Lithographic Label Demand by Type 176
4 Screen Printed Label Demand by Type 179
5 Digital Label Demand by Type 182
6 Letterpress Label Demand by Type 188
7 Gravure Label Demand by Type 191

1 Label Demand by Function 197
2 Primary Packaging Label Demand by Market 200
3 Food Processing Label Demand 203
4 Beverage Label Demand 208
5 Pharmaceutical Label Demand 214
6 Cosmetic & Toiletry Label Demand 219
7 Other Primary Packaging Label Demand 224
8 Secondary Label Demand by Market 225
9 Retail Label Demand 228
10 Other Secondary Label Demand 230
11 Industrial Label Demand by Market 232
12 Mailing & Shipping Label Demand 236
13 Decorative Label Demand 239
14 Other Label Demand 240

1 US Label Sales by Company, 2012 243
2 Selected Acquisitions & Divestitures 259

List of Charts

1 Label Demand, 2002-2012 43
2 Label Pricing, 2002-2022 45
3 World Label Demand, 2012 54

1 Label Demand by Application Method, 2012 109

1 Label Demand by Printing Technology, 2012 170

1 Label Demand by Function, 2012 198
2 Primary Packaging Label Demand by Market, 2012 201

1 US Label Stock Market Share, 2012 246
2 US Finished Label Market Share, 2012 252

Read the full report:

US Labels Market

For more information:
Sarah Smith
Research Advisor at
Tel: +44 208 816 85 48

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