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Modest growth in European self-adhesive label consumption

Demand for self-adhesive label materials in Europe last year amounted to 5.78 billion m², up 1.7% on 2011, reports Jules Lejeune, managing director of FINAT.

Demand for self-adhesive label materials in Europe last year amounted to 5.78 billion m², up 1.7% on 2011, reports Jules Lejeune, managing director of FINAT.

With a market share of around 45%, self-adhesive consolidated its lead as the dominant labelling technology in Europe, ahead of wet glue (40%), sleeving (7%), in-mould (3%) and other technologies (5%). However, the linear growth pattern of around 5% year after year that lasted until the middle of the last decade has disappeared, due to the global economic crises; and, with consumption levels reaching maturity in Western Europe, self-adhesive demand has become more sensitive to the volatility of consumer behaviour.

However, filmic label innovations and the on-going evolution of Eastern Europe continue to offer significant upward potential. Eastern European markets consumed 11.4% more self-adhesive label materials than in the preceding year; and total labelstock demand recorded in the region is now approaching Southern Europe, with a demand of 1.28 billion m², as the second largest self-adhesive labelling region in Europe.

Within the top five self-adhesive label consuming European countries, Germany and the UK remain ahead of France, Italy and Spain. However, from a historical perspective, Germany and Italy have outperformed the other three.

During the first quarter of 2013, self-adhesive labelstock demand increased by a modest 0.4% compared with the same period of 2012. Although this positive result prevented the industry from dropping back into a European ‘label recession’, it continued the downward trend in annualised quarterly growth rates since the third quarter of 2012.

Despite the prudent signs of (slow) recovery and significantly improved financial conditions, the Eurozone countries continued their recession at the start of the year with their sixth consecutive quarter of output decline. Even Europe’s ‘export engine’ Germany is facing a slowdown.