Top Trends Influencing Label and Package Printing in 2021
2021 offers label and packaging printers/converters many opportunities to enhance productivity, improve profitability, and strengthen customer relationships. Positioning for success in the year ahead starts with identifying the key trends and forces that are shaping the competitive landscape and offering opportunities in packaging printing.
A special NAPCO Research report highlights the 10 top package printing trends and their influence on label and package printing. The report, sponsored by Memjet, leverages NAPCO Research’s ongoing packaging industry surveys, analysis, and market monitoring. The following highlights three of the ten trends included in the report.
1. COVID-19, Still Here
The force that will yield the most influencing in 2021 is the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of what happens this year will depend on when limitations on in-person events are lifted and businesses can operate at full capacity. Still, there is reason for optimism as with the rollout of the vaccine and expected economic growth.
In 2020, labels and packaging proved to be more resilient than other print segments, many of which experienced steep sales declines. A key reason is that many essential products, including food, beverage, pharmaceuticals, spirits, and consumer product goods require labels and packaging.
2. Growth in Digital Printing Adoption
Obstacles once inhibiting widespread growth of digital printing in packaging are being displaced by ongoing technology innovation, more widespread adoption, and application successes.
Digital printing offers label and packaging producers and their customers many attractive benefits. According to the NAPCO Research study "Lowering Entry Barriers in Digital Printing for Packaging," sponsored by Memjet, the top benefits reported by survey respondents that print labels and packaging on digital devices include the ability to accommodate customers’ short-run production needs (57%), faster turnaround (49%), personalization (48%), the ability to cost-effectively print prototypes or short-run samples (45%), the ability to print multiple versions in a single print run (43%), and the ability to print only what is needed (43%), thus reducing inventory (Figure 1).
3. Inkjet Will Expand Digital Printing Adoption
Inkjet printing of packaging is the next stage in print providers/converters’ evolution to serve brand owners. Competitive cost structures, faster printing speeds, enhanced image quality, and the ability to print on a wider variety of substrates are breaking barriers that previously restricted inkjet technology from achieving wider use in label and packaging applications.
According to "Lowering Entry Barriers in Digital Printing for Packaging," survey respondents who printed labels and packaging on digital presses were asked if they printed those applications on inkjet presses. Over half of respondents reported printing labels and/or packaging on inkjet presses, with 45% printing labels and 22% printing packaging (Figure 2). Of the respondents who did not print labels and/or packaging on digital inkjet presses, 11% were planning to do so in the future.
Inkjet printing is creating new opportunities for producing label and packaging applications. Ongoing innovations in printheads, inks, and substrates are enabling printers and converters to more easily transition work from analog presses to new-breed digital printing systems that can handle both current products and new ones not previously possible.
Explore All 10 Trends
The year ahead offers label and packaging printers/converters many opportunities to enhance productivity, improve profitability, and strengthen customer relationships.
To explore all 10 trends that will influence and shape the year ahead, download our report, Planning for Profitability in Labels and Packaging in 2021. The report also highlights:
- The importance of labels and packaging as a sustainable marketing tool
- Ways e-commerce sales will boost packaging opportunities
- Whether or not to invest in digital storefronts
- Technology innovations impacting the industry most
Download the full report to gain valuable insights on the forces influencing 2021 competition and customer expectations.
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.