Despite the economic downturn affecting Australia, the label and packaging (L&P) industry has experienced a steady growth in recent years. In the first quarter of 2023, it outperformed expectations with a sequential growth of 15.6 per cent, and an annual growth of 23.8 per cent in the Asia Pacific 1. In fact, it is forecasted that 32 per cent of worldwide L&P industry growth will come from the Asia Pacific region, the highest of all regions 2.
Technological advancements have focused on delivering flexibility, agility, and responsiveness so businesses can effectively cater to shifting customer demands. As the sector navigates this dynamic landscape, several emerging trends are reshaping its foundations, demanding strategic foresight and adaptability:
1. Shift to digital production
The benefits businesses are seeing from digital production are driving its growth. In contrast to traditional methods, digital production gives brands and retailers the flexibility to alter designs, iterate processes, and ensure timely delivery without being held back by lengthy lead times. As the world moves deeper into the digital age, it’s clear that businesses must adopt digital production processes to remain competitive and relevant.
With a digital-first approach, businesses can react to market changes in real time. This lets them capitalise on emerging trends or respond to unexpected shifts in demand. Responsive and scalable nature of digital production, coupled with cost-effectiveness at lower volumes, places it at the forefront of modern L&P solutions.
2. Rise of automation and sustainable production
Automation lets businesses drive operational efficiency and foster increased sustainability. By automating processes like label and package printing, organisations can reduce manual intervention, minimise errors, and optimise production timelines. Ultimately, this translates to leaner, more efficient operations. Additionally, the fusion of workflow and software automation has the potential to revolutionise the entire production chain, from design to delivery.
At the same time, sustainability has emerged as a significant concern for modern workplaces, regardless of industry or geographical location. Mounting pressure from consumers, regulators, and investors alike has driven businesses to look more proactively at their production methods and embrace sustainable practices. Digital production empowers businesses to operate more sustainably by promoting waste reduction, efficient energy use, and optimal resource allocation. By coupling digital production with automated processes, businesses can ensure that their practices are both environmentally conscious and economically sound.
3. Ongoing industry growth
Innovations in technology and shifting consumer preferences have led to a positive outlook for the sector. Some areas of print are thriving more than others, such as label printing, which grew 44.4 per cent in Asia Pacific during the first quarter of 2023 3.
As digital label technology begins to venture into new territories, the boundaries of what is possible are being continuously challenged and redefined. Digital solutions, with their inherent flexibility and adaptability, let organisations create innovative packaging designs that cater to the diverse tastes of modern consumers, even as those tastes and requirements change. The importance of agility and resilience cannot be overstated. Brands and businesses that harness the power of digital production, leverage its flexibility, and embrace its potential for innovation, will lead the pack for the future of the L&P market.
The L&P industry is at a pivotal juncture. It’s essential that organisations move beyond simply observing trends and proactively adopt them. Investing in smart label and packaging solutions requires more than simply staying relevant. It’s about pioneering change, setting benchmarks, and leading the industry.
By proactively embracing these shifts, businesses can position themselves at the forefront of innovation, ensuring they not only meet the challenges of today, but lead future change.
To find out how Konica Minolta can help your business embrace digital change and keep ahead of the curve, contact the team today.