Digital packaging is one area that continues to experience growth in the printing industry. Smithers Pira, a market report and consultancy firm that specializes in print, packaging, and paper industry supply chains, forecasted a steady growth in the industry for up to the year 2020. In their report, digital packaging printing was said to have a value of $10.5 billion for the past year. From this figure, labels compose 80.5%, and these also take around 93.5% of last year’s printed volume. However, it is quite surprising to know that in spite of this huge share in a multi-billion dollar industry, digitally printed labels only make up a mere 10% of all printed labels globally.
One main reason why the demand for digital packaging is expected to continue its growth is it offers innovative functionalities. Brands, as well as retailers, now have the options to personalize or print tailored content, and as a result, they increase their emotional engagement with consumers. Examples of this are the campaigns of Coke and Toblerone. ‘Share-a-Coke with…’ was a successful campaign that got people lining up to get a can or bottle with their names written on the labels. Last year, Toblerone also launched a do-it-yourself personalized bar with numbers and letters you can cut out and assemble to spell the name of whoever you’re giving it to or forming the age, year of birth, or whatnots of someone receiving the famous chocolate Swiss Alps.
Both cases mentioned above show how digital packaging can propel brands by producing a more direct engagement with consumers using content that generates emotions from them. And, in a way, we understand how creating emotional relations with customers is an important aspect of building a brand’s image. In connection to this talk of an emotional appeal, we also previously discussed how humor is not that good of an idea.
But I digress. The point is print packaging is one the few remaining, if not the only enduring, facet of the print industry that continues to thrive despite a rapid advancement of the digital age. Dr. Harvey Levenson of Cal Poly State University in California did a study on graphic communication industry segments and found that the packaging industry, particularly the production of digitally printed labels, shows no signs of declining in the years to come. In fact, Dr. Levenson cited the Smithers Pira report that forecasted digitally printed packaging to reach a whopping $14.4 billion value by 2018. There are also reports of a $2 billion annual invoice for digital color presses from label and packaging converters worldwide. And while labels for consumer goods take up most of this, folding carton and flexible packaging applications are also booming due to digital printing.
Much of the consumer packaging industry’s growth and success today is connected to global industrial, market-driven, and capitalistic interests and values. With a high demand for a broad range of products, inevitably and as expected, print packaging industry will also continue to rise.