FINAT has released the 2018 Winter edition of its 6-monthly market report, the FINAT RADAR, this time covering the results from a survey among over 80 brand owners and packaging buyers, and follow-up one on one interviews with a select number of them.

It becomes clear that European label customers are approaching 2019 more cautiously than they did a year ago.  Projected label purchasing volumes are lower than they were one year ago, both for conventional and digitally printed labels. Although a 65% majority of respondents still indicated that their label volumes were projected to increase in 2019, the % of respondents expecting a decrease for the subsequent year went up from 3% at the end of 2017, to 18% one year later. The proportion of respondents expecting no change in procurement volumes also went up, from 14% to 18% between December 2017 and December 2018.  

Slowdown in labelstock demand 

The survey results indicate a slowdown in line with the uncertain economic climate in the face of Brexit, political uncertainty in the eurozone and the possible escalation of the trade dispute between the US and China. FINAT’s quarterly European labelstock statistics, considered a significant indicator of general economic trends, continued its slowdown in the second half of 2018, reaching a volume growth rate in m2 of 1.4% for the year as a whole compared to 2017.

This number was broken down into 0.9% for self-adhesive paper roll materials (mainly due to continued strong demand for direct thermal materials) and 3.5% for PP, PE and other high-end non-paper roll materials. Sheet labelstocks, already reduced to less than 5% of total demand, dropped by 2.6% in 2018.  

Commenting on the survey, FINAT Managing Director Jules Lejeune stated: “Especially in the current context of market uncertainty, the FINAT RADAR is an invaluable tool for members to assess market prospects and to compare trends in the procurement of labels and packaging solutions provided by the self-adhesive and narrow web converting industry. I strongly recommend that they download the report.”  

Survey topics

Respondents were surveyed on matters like label purchasing volume growth projections, label vendor loyalty, migration from self-adhesive to other label formats, linerless labels, the most important factors brands consider for printed packaging decoration, as well as the possibility of brands printing labels in-house.