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US label market growth forecast. <i>(Source: Freedonia)</i>
US label market growth forecast. (Source: Freedonia)

Demand for pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA), or self-adhesive, labels is expected to rise 3.5% per year to US$15.1 billion in 2021, according to market research company Freedonia.

Demand for pressure sensitives, which accounted for 76% of total label demand in 2016, will benefit from greater demand for value-added types and smart labels. The almost exclusive use of PSAs in fast growing markets such as the secondary and mailing and shipping segments will also drive growth.

While paper-based labels represent the vast majority of demand – 74% of the total in 2016 – plastic pressure sensitive labels are expected to grow more rapidly.

Plastic offers numerous advantages including durability, a wide range of customizable resin options and aesthetic advantages such as a no-label look.

The entire US labels market is forecast to grow 3.4% annually to US$19.8 billion in 2021, accelerating from the 2011-2016 pace. Gains will be driven by increased focus on labels as sophisticated marketing and track and trace tools, leading to growth for value-added label types.

Freedonia analyst Ellen Kriz said, "Ongoing improvements in converting techniques and printing technologies will lower costs and increase penetration of these higher value labels."

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