Crossroads of Opportunity
Narrow-web flexo converters look to benefit from new technologies and market trends, but competitive pressures will be formidable.
BRAND OWNERS WANT high-quality packaging and labels that increase product differentiation, produced in shorter runs. Those are taxing demands, but the narrow-web flexo industry is positioned to deliver.
Today's market trends offer an opportunity for narrow-web flexo converters to grow their businesses in the face of industry consolidation, competition, and financial pressures. It's a simple formula: What consumers want is what consumer product companies (CPCs) want their converters to deliver, and new narrow-web technologies are making that possible.
"Narrow-web converters, press manufacturers, and CPCs are all reacting to current consumer trends and market changes," said Steve Leibin, sales manager for Matik North America (a distributor of OMET and Codimag printing presses). "Today's consumers want products and packaging that meet their lifestyle needs. In addition to meeting consumers' needs, CPCs would like packaging to help them gain market share in a fiercely competitive retail environment, reduce costs, be secure, and get noticed. All of these needs combine to present new challenges and opportunities for narrow-web converters."
Following trends to get ahead
Market trends show that consumers want more from packaging. Leibin said, "Very often, in today's crowded marketplace, 'the package is the product' in the consumer's mind." In the two to three seconds that consumers take to decide what product to buy, the package is often the deciding factor.
"It is said that 70 percent of the buying decision is made when the consumer is viewing the product on the shelf, thus making it increasingly necessary for companies to differentiate themselves, to standout on the shelf," said Mike Schmidt, vice president of sales, Nilpeter USA.
Differentiation calls for high-quality printing, decoration such as cold or hot foil and/or specialty inks, and substrate variation—all of which has equipment manufacturers responding to trends they see in the needs of their customers—converters.