Expansion of the world' s packaged consumer goods markets will help drive world label shipments to increase nearly seven per cent annually up to 2005, to 32 billion m², according to Freedonia's new 'World Labels' study.

Best gains are expected in the world’ s emerging economies, which already account for almost a third of global label production. China will experience “explosive growth”, surpassing Japan as the second leading label producing nation after the US; Eastern Europe will also log double digit annual gains as greater self sufficiency in label production is achieved. Label markets in East Asia and Latin America will enjoy robust growth.

Pressure sensitive labels, which surpassed wet glues as the leading label type in the late 1990s, will account for 54 per cent of the global market by 2005. Newer label types such as sleeve, in-mould and heatseal filmic wraparounds will also capture a larger share of the market, albeit from a slim 2000 base, logging double digit annual gains in most countries.

Flexo will make rapid gains in the developing markets at the expense of letterpress and (to a lesser extent) other printing technologies, while the nascent market for digital label presses — 200 or so were in place worldwide in 2000 — will expand rapidly in the new decade. Variable information printing of various sorts will also become increasingly common, says Freedonia.