Features | May 18, 2021
8 Top Markets to Grow Your Label Sales
Lockdowns, global supply chain disruptions and abrupt changes in consumer preferences and behavior have led to significant changes in how business is done. Throughout all of this, the label industry has proven to be flexible and resilient. While many printing industry segments experienced steep sales declines that have continued into 2021, the demand for labels has actually increased for many markets. This growth is due to the fact that labels are an important component or necessary supply used in a wide variety of essential products and growing industries.
While it’s hard to find a business that does not utilize labels, the pandemic has increased and continues to increase demand for certain label markets. Dramatic increases in demand for some of these markets may slow as we return to normal, but for many of these growing markets, COVID-19 and its resulting crises served to supercharge trends that were already in place and on the rise before 2020. In these cases, the trends are more likely here to stay.
Here are some of the markets in particular that are worth targeting to increase your label sales.
Food and Groceries
Restaurant restrictions, consumer anxiety and remote working/schooling have all led people to eat and drink more at home — fueling strong growth in grocery sales. Grocery sales grew 10% in 2020 (compared to 2% in the past 10 years). Although some of this growth will slow as restaurants and bars continue to increase capacity and consumers go back to eating out, it will be some time before we return to our pre-pandemic eating habits. Look for continued need for labels for packaged food and liquor, as well as labels to help grocers with curbside and online orders and grab-and-go products.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) labels are an excellent solution for companies looking to increase speed and accuracy of data collection. Wide-spread adoption of RFID technology has been relatively slow in the last 20 years. However, recent improvements in RFID technology, implementation of international standards and lower price points with increased ROI are all leading to a significant uptick in demand. The RFID market is anticipated to grow 9% in 2021. Talk to your customers in healthcare, retail, manufacturing, warehousing and logistics about how they can benefit from these smart labels.
Health Care and Pharmaceuticals
Labels play a key part in maintaining communication and patient safety. Even before COVID-19, an aging population, increased access to healthcare, and demand for pharmaceuticals and medical devices made this a lucrative market for health care labels sales. The pandemic has led to additional growth in this market with additional need for labels related to patient and staff education and safety, as well as vaccine and other drug distribution. Even as we reach the eventual end of the pandemic, demand in this market should remain high
Americans spent 65% more on cannabis products in 2020 than in 2019. With more states opting for the legalization of recreational marijuana, the industry is expected to continue to grow for the next several years. As the industry matures, cannabis producers and retailers will be looking to meet regulatory, branding and traceability needs with a wide variety of cannabis labels for pharmaceutical and recreational marijuana, as well as consumer products containing cannabidiol (CBD).
COVID-19 accelerated the growth of ecommerce, which grew close to 40% in 2020. Mandated store closures as well as consumer anxiety led to increased online orders for not only large online retailers, but also smaller, traditional brick and mortar stores. This increased online shopping created a massive increase in the need for shipping labels. Even as the pandemic ends, it is anticipated that many consumers will continue to take advantage of the convenience of online shopping — which means online and traditional retailers will continue to need a lot of shipping labels.
The dramatic increase in ecommerce as well as supply chain disruptions and changes have kept warehouse and distribution centers very busy. Warehouse and distribution centers have also had to be extremely agile. Traditionally, large pallets of similar items would be sent to central retail locations. As the e-commerce trend continues and customers buy more online, many supply chain companies will need to provide more “piece-based” fulfillment — quickly shipping small quantities of diverse items to multiple locations. Labeling will play a key role as this industry continues to adjust to changing market demands.
Even before the pandemic, the nutraceutical market had been steadily growing for years, driven by a rising movement toward health and wellness. Fear of COVID-19 further increased demand for supplements, especially those touted to boost immune systems. Post-pandemic, it is anticipated that demand for food-based health products will continue to increase at a compound annual rate over 8% — doubling in the next five years. These companies will need labels for their various products.
Mobile printing allows agile businesses to print labels and receipts where they’re needed. Health care, warehouse, retail and field service businesses will especially be increasing their use of mobile printers, and will in turn need stock and custom print media and labels.
Looking to the post-COVID future, we know that labels will continue to serve as an important part of the supply chain, as well as a valuable communication tool for businesses in all markets. Whatever markets they target, successful distributors can boost their profits by adding labels to their product portfolio.
DLS Vice President of Marketing James Cirigliano has spent the last 10 years helping print distributors increase their label sales. He leads a creative and strategic team to help DLS customers with marketing collateral, web content and customized videos. You can reach James at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about DLS and how you can sell more labels to these markets.
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