Ask any label printer worth his salt what segment of the industry is poised for growth, and they’ll have two words for you: shrink sleeves. Shrink sleeve labeling is experiencing a period of sustained growth that is not expected to slow down in the foreseeable future. According to a recent survey conducted by the TLMI, when members were asked what new markets they are most interested in entering, the most popular answer was the shrink sleeve market at 17%.
Why is this market segment so attractive? The short answer is there are several factors contributing to the growth of shrink sleeve labels, including cost efficiency, maximum marketing surface area and packaging functionality. We did some research to find out more, and created a list of the three main reasons for shrink sleeve growth, according to the label industry.
1. Adding the highly technical methods of shrink sleeve printing to their list of capabilities helps label converters stand out from the competition.
Label converters are seeking new ways to increase top-line revenue, and shrink sleeves prove to be a viable option. Traditionally, flexible packaging converters were using gravure and solvent-based flexo for shrink sleeve printing, but label converters have discovered there’s no need for a pressroom remodel. They can utilize existing narrow-web equipment and some of the same raw materials. With that said, the learning curve for shrink material printing can pose challenges, with a complicated workflow involving distortion rates and more prepress work upfront and a web that must be kept cool to prevent unintended shrink. The benefit of that is some converters will be weeded out, leaving their more skilled counterparts to reap the reward of shrink sleeve capabilities.
2. Brand owners see shrink sleeves as a 360-degree marketing opportunity.
Premium shelf appeal is the name of the game for brand owners and with more real estate to sell their product to their audience, shrink sleeves are the ultimate branding showcase. A larger canvas means brands can communicate with their customers in new ways, including adding personalization via digital technology.
3. The performance benefits of shrink sleeves are undeniable.
- The durability of reverse print ensures scuff and rub resistance during shipping and handling
- Converters can utilize applications that they are already familiar with, such as UV and LED flexo
- The recyclability of shrink sleeves has improved in recent years, helping to keep up with the trend of environmental impact awareness
At this time AWA (Alexander Watson Associates) reports that 18% of the world label market is shrink sleeve labeling, with an overall CAGR of 5.5% to sustain through 2020, and possibly beyond. That’s good news for the third largest labeling technology, and any of the converters who choose to enter the market.