I have expressed my personal views on how the Indian labels market is likely to move ahead in 2018

From being a country with predominantly rural population and unorganized retail, urbanization in India is steadily transforming the market to a mature one with consumer orientation. Products that were mostly available in loose unpacked format are now increasingly being offered from organized retail food marts in decorative and attractive packaging. 
A label or pack that had limited need earlier has become the communication tool between the seller and end consumer. Indian label market that has over the years defied recessionary trends at the global level has been growing steadily with double digit growth. Market segmentation has also been a continued process both in terms of producing labels for the commodity products and those for high end with attractive decoration. The former segment forms the bottom of the triangle, accounts for the larger volume of labels and is highly competitive with depleting margins. 
This segment will stay fiercely combative in the marketplace and will resort to heavy cost cutting to drive in margins with economy of scale. They will resort to buying traditional but low cost presses with faster speeds, lower wastage and lesser downtime. The Upper part of the triangle is which caters to the users for whom a good and unique label is an imperative to boost sales. This is the segment that drives in development with innovative capabilities to help drive in better margins. For this reason we will see growing demand for hybrid presses by leading high end printers. 
Digital printing in labels is still a segment where Indian printers are hesitant to step in even
though the journey in this direction has commenced. This is so due to the higher cost of production in this printing technology. Short runs and variable data, drive this segment and in a high population country like India, this market will grow but not at the rate at which it grows in the western world. Lower cost of printing and converting equipment may boost this segment. Digital equipment manufacturers who can address this aspect will surely make this segment to prosper. Imperative need for brand protection, communicative labels, decorative labels and relatively short run labels to aid marketing in different geographical regions in India with different languages and festivals, spells the need for hybrid presses.
India witnessed turmoil in business due to aggressive government economic policies that would aid faster growth longtime. Business slowed down a bit, but moved on due to inertia. The settling down of economy will surely create an expanded market. We envisage a better growth rate in 2018. Labels moving into different tangents like Shrink sleeves, IML, wrap around, etc. stem a larger growth rate in the self adhesive labels but as mentioned earlier, due to the sheer market size, all segments will keep growing. 
Environmental concerns are also likely to impact the Indian market scenario, it is becoming increasingly difficult to send the waste to landfills or incinerate it. 2018 will see emphatic moves to conserve the environment. How this evolves, only time will tell.





Written By Harveer Sahni, Chairman Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi January 2018. To email the author; harveersahni@gmail.com