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The sleeving label market comprised 19% of the total label format demand in 2013, according to the most recent report provided by William Llewellyn, PhD, Vice President and Senior Consultant for AWA Alexander Watson Associates. Llewellyn gave his report at the recent Sleeve Label Conference & Exhibition 2014, April 29 and 30, in Cincinnati, OH.

Clare Goldsberry

May 5, 2014

3 Min Read
Shrink sleeve label market gaining ground

The sleeving label market comprised 19% of the total label format demand in 2013, according to the most recent report provided by William Llewellyn, PhD, Vice President and Senior Consultant for AWA Alexander Watson Associates. Llewellyn gave his report at the recent Sleeve Label Conference & Exhibition 2014, April 29 and 30, in Cincinnati, OH.

full-body-shrink-labels.jpgGlobal growth for all label formats in 2013 is estimated at approximately 3.5%. Growth in the North American (0.5%) and European (+/-2%) markets reflects the maturity of these developed regional markets. Growth remains strongest in the Chinese and Indian markets, but does show a slowdown from historical highs, Llewellyn stated.

Trends show that glue-applied label volumes continue to grow in emerging markets and are declining in developed markets. Sleeve labels offer the greatest growth potential, with heat-shrink sleeve labels occupying 88% of the sleeving market. The market for global sleeve labels in 2013 stood at 9.6 billion square meters, with North American demand consuming 11%; Europe 24%; and Asia 61% of that figure. South America and Africa each stood at just 2%.

Global sleeve label demand by materials puts PVC as the largest material for that application at 56%, with PET coming in second at 21%. Other materials include oriented polystyrene (10%), polyolefin (3.0%), PE (8%), and other (2%).

In general, sleeve label growth rates are stabilizing, noted Llewellyn, but remain ahead of regional and global growth rates by an approximate factor of 1.5 to 2 times, depending on format. Volume growth is being driven by heat-shrink transdirectional (TD) sleeve labels within all regions, but especially in China, and the Middle East in rate terms.

Other drivers of the increased demand for heat-stretch sleeve labels include higher stretch films now developed by companies other than CCL and investments by major film manufacturers that are expanding manufacturing and introducing new films. Roll-fed shrink multidirectional (RFS-MD) shrink sleeve usage is benefitting from investments by major soft drink manufacturers in North America and microwave food producers in Europe.

However, one area in which issues remain is that of recyclability of heat-shrink sleeve labeled PET containers in the U.S. and European markets. All players in the value chain continue to actively seek solutions to this nagging problem.

Anyone interested in attending a hands-on workshop on heat-shrink sleeve label technologies, produced by AWA Alexander Watson Associates, to be held June 24 and 25, and June 26 and 27, in Plymouth, MN, can register at www.awa-bv.com. A knowledge of the technical aspects of heat-shrink sleeve label technologies is becoming an essential qualification for most professionals working in the broad packaging industry, either as a brand owner or as a converter.

Supported by leading industry participants Accraply Inc., Bonset America, Dunwoody College of Technology Esko, Fling Group, and Polysack Flexible Packaging, the workshops will match theory with practical demonstrations, as well as "cures and remedies" discussions between workshop participants and the experts. A key feature is the on-site location of the workshops, at the Flint Group facility on day one, and the Accraply facility on day two, both located in Plymouth, MN. In response to market requests, the second workshop will be presented in simultaneous translation in Spanish.

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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