Research Report Finds Inkjet Creating New Possibilities for Labels
Labels were one of the first packaging applications to transition to digital printing, and inkjet is furthering that transition. Today, there are many inkjet options for printing labels, from tabletop devices to narrow webs to hybrid systems that add inkjet heads to analog printing presses.
A special NAPCO Research report titled Enhancing the Digital Label Opportunity, sponsored by Memjet, showcases how inkjet printing, brand owner demands, and market trends are converging in ways that elevate the quality of digital label printing, broaden its applications, and enrich the opportunities it holds. The report is based on NAPCO Research survey data, industry reporting by Packaging Impressions, and secondary research.
Digital printing is supporting the efforts of retailers, brand owners, marketers, and agencies to expand product versions and improve customer engagement. Major brands such as Coca-Cola and Nutella are employing personalized labeling as part of larger marketing campaigns. On Coca-Cola’s website, consumers can order personalized labels for weddings and other events. The rise in e-commerce has opened up new opportunities for suppliers of decorative labels and packaging to offer high-value, high-margin personalized labels and products to create a connection with the consumer.
Printing labels on inkjet devices offers print providers, converters, and product owners competitive cost structures, faster printing speeds, enhanced image quality, and the ability to print on a wide variety of substrates. In addition, inkjet mitigates a key barrier to digital printing: it can produce higher volumes than toner, bridging the gap between standard offset and electrophotographic run lengths.
Labels play many roles, including conveying critical product information, providing essential marketing support, and enabling security measures to combat product counterfeiting and supply-chain diversion. Inkjet supports brand owner and regulatory label requirements on these fronts and many others because it can:
- Print eye-catching designs, enabling offset-quality output on a wide range of coated and uncoated substrates
- Print on film, paper, and pre-diecut and matrix-free rolls with high reliability
- Deliver production flexibility
- Economically meet demand for lower run quantities
- Add variable data elements such as expiration dates, tracking barcodes, local regulatory information, and serial numbers.
A 2020 NAPCO Research study Lowering Entry Barriers in Digital Printing for Packaging, found that over half of printers/converters print labels or tags on inkjet devices.
The survey also asked label printers to rank growth in demand for various customer requirements. The responses to this survey question highlight the reasons label production continues to migrate to digital printing. Respondents report high growth in demand for shorter runs, ways to improve packaging results, and substrate availability. Digital printing accommodates many customer requirements that respondents reported are in high demand.
Ongoing innovations in inkjet printing hardware, software, inks, toners, and substrates are yielding less complicated digital printing processes for printing labels. These innovations have lowered and continue to lower investment risk in digital presses because they reduce technology complexity, workflow steps, and process variables.
Download the new report to find out how inkjet label printing can improve your production quality and increase customer satisfaction.
Lisa Cross is the principal analyst of NAPCO Research (a unit of NAPCO Media) where she conducts market research and analysis on emerging trends and changing dynamics in the commercial, in-plant and packaging industries, and the market forces that are driving those changes. With decades of experience covering the graphic arts and marketing industries, Cross has authored thousands of articles on a variety of topics, including technology trends, business strategy, sales, marketing and legislation.