FINAT, the international association for the label industry, has just published the fifth edition of its half-yearly FINAT RADAR – a wide-ranging, professionally conducted industry trends report and analysis covering the European narrow-web market. With a core focus on label converters, and produced exclusively for FINAT members, FINAT RADAR delivers a unique, in-depth profile of the current marketplace.
FINAT RADAR is based on an extensive online survey carried out among FINAT converter members in Europe and members of the affiliated European national label print associations, and on FINAT’s regularly updated labelstock statistics. Jules Lejeune, FINAT MD, presenting highlights from this new issue of RADAR during the association’s recent European Label Forum in Amsterdam, was able to confirm that the industry as a whole continues to enjoy ‘buoyant growth’ at around 5% – well above European GDP – with label converting companies increasing their sales revenues on average by over 8% in 2015.
Changing brand owner demands
In response to a changing profile in end user/brand owner demand, average run lengths reduced significantly. With multi-versioning, multi-language, and multi-location labelling operations, plus a current requirement for ‘fast to market’ product introductions and special editions/personalisation, end-user companies now often specify ‘just in time’ label deliveries – so print runs are naturally contracting. This is true for both conventional analogue and digital label print. As a result, analogue print runs have reduced by an average 22%, and digital print runs by 12%, with the beverage, health and beauty, and consumer durables segments showing the sharpest declines.
A broader service offering
“In the complex mix of traditional, hybrid, and digital print technologies which now characterise our industry”, says Jules Lejeune, “current research shows that nearly one third of survey participants intend to invest in digital label presses in the next six months – for the first time overtaking printers’ commitment to buying conventional presses. But that is not all… Many FINAT member companies are now additionally investing in alternative product decoration technologies such as shrink- and stretch-sleeve, in-mould labels, and even flexible pouches. This is great evidence of the forward-looking, innovative thinking that characterises our industry that’s creating a new arena of all-round, multi-service suppliers for brand owners.”
Geographically, while Europe’s ‘top ten’ label markets continue to account for 75% of total label consumption, east European markets, particularly Poland, Turkey, and Russia are visibly increasing their share. In terms of end-use markets, pharmaceuticals, health and beauty care, and food labelling were the strongest performers in 2015.
Management and business challenges
The new FINAT RADAR also explores key features of running a label converting business – employment, profit and loss, purchasing and investment, and the high-profile subject of waste management.
Echoing Jules Lejeune’s optimism, FINAT President Thomas Hagmaier comments “The outcomes of the current FINAT RADAR indicate that our industry’s fundamentals are healthy and that the European label industry is well positioned to face current challenges like the proposed exit of the UK from the European community.” He adds “As a label printer myself, I believe that FINAT RADAR provides an invaluable dossier of information that enables such companies to benchmark their own activities and performance – and make the most of them for the future.”