Labelling Solutions

Label industry predictions for 2021: insights from Konica Minolta

By Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe senior manager, professional print, Edoardo Cotichini,

need fewer and less-skilled operators. Looking to the future, we know that labels will continue to form the supply chains of basic necessities and provide a vital tool to convey information. Healthcare, pharmaceutical and food and drink sectors are among the sectors that will continue to be growth areas for digital label printing in the future.


Digital label technology will continue to expand into traditional flexo territory. From discussions with customers, it’s clear that label and packaging converters are being forced to expand their digital print service offerings as traditional offset/flexo volumes erode over time.


hatever happens in the overall economy at large, the printing industry – digital labels and

packing in particular – will remain resilient and continue to play an important role in our everyday lives. Any crisis, such as coronavirus, will accelerate trends that were already under way. They include the drive towards automation, online print purchasing and webshops; plus, of course, the unstoppable analogue to digital transition.

The IDC “Western Europe Digital Label and Packaging Printer Forecast, 2020-2024” makes it clear that brand owners will play a pivotal role in a changing world from analogue to digital printing in labels. Toner-based devices will continue to drive most shipments. The report states: “Digital print enables brands and manufacturers to respond quickly to customer demands. It also enables brands to improve manufacturing and the supply chain, reduce warehousing cost and waste and helping brands achieve faster time to market.”

CONVERTERS INCREASINGLY WILL LOOK TO DIGITAL PRINT OFFERINGS The report finds that, by vendor, Konica Minolta captured 19.1% market share

in western Europe for digital label and packaging printer in shipments and value in 2019. And, this growth will continue: “Label and packaging converters will be forced to expand digital service offerings as traditional offset/flexo volumes slowly erode over time,” says the report.

That also reflects our own experience as increasing numbers of traditional label printers are asking for advice on the shift to digital. And we remain confident heading into 2021 because digital printing is the only technology capable of delivering short to medium runs, with a quick turnaround time. The same IDC report also reflects anticipated slowdown in sales activities, due to factors such as the postponement of Drupa in 2020 and the impact of Covid- 19. Although digital label and packaging shipments in the past year in western Europe dropped by almost a third to just over 200 units, the market is still expected to be selling around 450 units a year in 2024 – not far short of the predicted levels prior to the pandemic.

We see growing demands for complete start-to-finish manufacturing process, as well as a need for production devices that

In the first lockdown in spring of 2020, our own research showed that page volumes in terms of linear metres printed on Konica Minolta AccurioLabel presses across Europe jumped to 150% in March 2020 – at the peak of the lockdown - compared to the previous month.


It’s a market that will continue to grow sustainably, particularly as consumer behaviour continues to develop. More working from home or from regional offices, low numbers or individualised offers are increasingly in demand. One example is the development in the food trade, from regional manufactures to micro-breweries. The trend will continue unabated. Labels will play an increasingly significant role.

We all recognise that the ongoing Covid- 19 situation has created unprecedented challenges but there is hope for a return to a ‘new normal’ with the roll out of vaccinations now underway. As always, we will ensure that our supplies and services to our customers will remain constant and secure into 2021 and beyond.



December/January 2021

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