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The global linerless labels market size was USD 2,333.4 million in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 3,413.5 million by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 5.0% during the forecast period. The rising demand for convenience foods is the primary factor responsible for the growth of this market. As the world is moving towards biodegradable and eco-friendly products, manufacturers are focusing on developing sustainable and innovative labeling solutions. For instance, ID Label introduced a new eco-friendly linerless label called Eco Tote Renew in February 2020.
Labeling is an important part of creating a brand image. Brand owners have raised an increasing requirement of labels to run continuous promotional campaigns, produce seasonal and regional variants, and respond to markets more dynamically. An adhesive label often features a facestock, adhesive, and a release liner. But with increasing concerns about liner waste generated, linerless labels are gaining considerable impetus in the packaging & labeling industry.
Linerless labels also called liner-free labels or backless labels are specially designed to discard the liner by replacing it with a release coating laid on the label after the printing of contents. A study by Ravenwood Packaging projects a 40% decrease in the label roll weight, accounting for large margins due to a decrease of liner cost and reduction in inventory space used. Furthermore, rejection of release liner reduces the chances of industrial mishaps created by their smooth-coated surfaces, thus promoting the adoption of such labels from food & beverage and logistics industries.
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Development of Linerless Labels with Novel Adhesives and Release Coatings for Specialty Applications
Linerless labels have proved to be an attractive alternative to conventional pressure-sensitive labels due to denunciation of backing liners. But, early these labels couldn’t use strong adhesives to avoid them from sticking together. Market players such as RR Donnelley, Ravenwood Packaging, and Skanem are investing in developing labels with specialized adhesives and release coatings to solve this problem. With continual research, liner-free labels for specialty applications such as frozen foods, microwavable products, and pharmaceutical packaging have become possible. Furthermore, repositionable labels have gained significant impetus as they can be reused with the development of such adhesives and release coating combinations.
Growth in Food & Beverage Industry Providing a Strong Base for the Growth of the Linerless Labels Market
Food products are sold off the shelves on the basis of brand recognition. As labeling is an important part of branding, the usage of eye-catching yet food-safe labels has observed considerable growth in this industry. Food products such as ham, bacon, and fruits are packaged with rolled linerfree labels, especially in the Asian and Latin American countries such as Japan, Brazil, and Southeast Asia. Furthermore, with stringent regulations regarding the information to be printed on the food products packaging, the demand for larger labels have grown significantly. But, as these labels can include 30% more print than the traditional labels, they can efficiently replace these traditional labels without changing the dimensions, making them cost-effective for the food & beverage industry clientele. The growth in the food & beverage industry is evident to fulfill the hunger of about 7 billion people across the globe and this growth will also transform into the linerless labels market growth during the forecast period.
E-commerce to Provide a Pathway to the Growth of this Market
E-commerce has strongly rooted itself in the developed economies and is growing leaps and bounds in the emerging economic powerhouses such as China and India. Such large traffic of goods requires a tracking system for goods to safeguard the delivery of the product to the correct recipient. For tracking of goods, the packages are marked with labels printed with codes and descriptions of the consignor and consignee. It is predicted that by 2025, about 200 billion parcels per annum will be transferred via e-commerce companies, resulting in a growing demand for labels. But, traditional labels create a large amount of waste in the form of release liner, further resulting in an additional cost to the logistics service provider. Thus, e-commerce companies are increasingly adopting backingless labels for printing labels for packages, thereby providing a pathway for the growth of the market.
Restrictions in Label Shaping to Impede the Market Growth
A critical challenge affecting the growth of the market is the inability of manufacturers to produce labels in different shapes and sizes than regular parallelogram structures. As the labels are generally packaged in rolls, it becomes difficult to lay adhesive layer over the release coating layer in such shapes, which may lead to loss of labels. With manufacturers constantly seeking unique branding products, these regular shapes may not fulfill their demand for a unique trademark, thus restricting the growth of the market.
Repositionable Segment to Gain Impetus during the Forecast Period
Based on adhesion type, the market is classified into permanent, removable, repositionable, and others. Labels are generally just used as a packaging and branding product and thus, are discarded after consumption of the product. But with increasing concerns regarding waste and pollution across the globe, companies are seeking for reusable labels, which can be recollected from the market and repositioned on new products. Thus, such the repositionable segment is expected to gain strong impetus during the forecast period.
On the other hand, the permanent segment currently holds the largest share in terms of volume owing to heavy demand for such linerfree labels from the logistics and retail sectors.
Direct Thermal Segment to Account for the Largest Share in the Market
In terms of printing technology, the market is segmented into direct thermal, thermal transfer, laser, inkjet, and others. Direct thermal printing technology is generally utilized by the logistics and retail industries due to its cheap printing capabilities. Direct thermal printers can be as small as a mobile device, making them easy to carry and print labels as and when required. Furthermore, it is cheaper due to the usage of single-colored ink, which increases the margin potential for the logistics service provider. Thus, direct thermal segment is projected to account for the largest share in this market.
On the flip side, laser printing is to gain considerable market share during the forecast period with pharmaceuticals & personal care products manufacturers utilizing such advanced printing technology to produce colorful and attractive labels to catch the attention of the consumers. Large scale printing using advanced techniques such as laser printing technology leads to affordable pricing for the labels, thus attracting the manufacturers from the food & beverage and personal care product industries.
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Food & Beverage Segment to Account for Significant Share in the Linerless Labels Market
Based on application, the market is segmented into food & beverage, pharmaceutical & personal care, retail, logistics, and others. The food & beverage segment is expected to hold the largest share in the global market, both on the basis of value and volume, on account of the required labels to differentiate the products from the other competitors in the industry. Furthermore, the demand for clean label products has further increased the demand for labels with prolific information about the contents of the products, which is expected to provide growth opportunities for the market.
Besides food & beverage, the logistics segment is expected to showcase significant growth in the market owing to the increasing spending capacity of the consumers which has resulted in an increase in shopping of customers via e-commerce platforms.
Facestock is Set to be the Largest Segment in this Market
Based on components, the market is segmented into facestock, adhesive, and release coating. The facestock segment accounts for about 4/5th of the label by weight and is necessary for the manufacture of labels. It thus, accounts for the largest stake in this market. With companies seeking for labels with high resistance to chemicals and superior sustainability, various materials for facestock are being introduced in the market such as vellum paper, metalized paper, and sugarcane paper. This factor is expected to further drive the growth of the market.
Release coating, on the other hand, is the component that differentiates the linerfree labels from traditional labels as it serves the purpose of a release liner. According to a study by Ravenwood Packaging, about 616 KT of label release liner end up in the landfill annually, which can be replaced by release coating in linerless labels, thus showing immense growth potential for release coating in the linerfree labels market. Furthermore, label companies are researching on developing release coatings which can meet specifications provided by the food products manufacturers, resulting in further adoption of the backingless labels in the industry.
Asia Pacific Linerless Labels Market Size, 2019 (USD Million)
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The market size in Asia Pacific stood at USD 892.5 million in 2019. Asia Pacific is the largest region in the market owing to the fast growth of e-commerce in the region. Furthermore, the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) manufacturers in the region are seeking to build their position via brand growth, leading to the significant growth of packaging products including linerless labels in the region.
The market in North America will be governed by the growth of the retail sector in the U.S. As the region is expected to recover from the global pandemic of COVID-19 during the forecast period, the demand for personal care and retail goods is expected to increase. On the other hand, the market in Europe will be driven by the growth of the pharmaceutical industry in the region, which is expected to grow to counter further reoccurrence of such pandemics.
The market in Latin America will be defined by the adoption of linerfree labels from the beverage manufacturers in the region. The market in the Middle East & Africa will follow the growth of the logistics sector of the region, which is growing owing to the large shipping industry present in the industry.
Key Market Players Aiming for Market Share with Acquisition and Mergers of Smaller Companies
The competitive landscape of the market depicts a semi-consolidated market with the top 10 companies accounting for majority of the share. Key players in the market have invested a considerable amount of resources in research and development of linerless labels and their components. Development of unusual shapes for labels, research on superior adhesives and development of novel release coatings are other few activities carried out by the market stakeholders.
Furthermore, key players of the market have adopted the strategies of capacity expansion and acquisitions of smaller enterprises to improve their offering portfolio and services. This trend is projected to positively impact the global market during the forecast period.
The linerless labels market report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on key aspects such as leading companies, components, and leading applications of the linerless labels.
An Infographic Representation of Linerless Labels Market
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Besides this, the report offers insights into the market trends and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the aforementioned factors, the report encompasses several factors that have contributed to the growth of the market over recent years.
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Value (USD Million)
By Adhesion Type
By Printing Technologies
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 2.33 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 3.41 billion by 2027.
In 2019, the market value stood at USD 2.33 billion.
Growing at a CAGR of 5.0%, the market will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2020-2027).
Food & beverage segment is expected to be the lead this market during the forecast period.
Growth in demand for labels from e-commerce companies is the key factor driving the growth of this market
Asia Pacific held the highest market share in 2018.
Demand from food & beverage and FMCG product manufacturers to create a brand image is a key factor driving the adoption of linerless labels. Furthermore, concerns regarding waste generation from release liners would positively impact growth.
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