Label and Packaging Industry Predictions for 2022

| 12 January 2022

Insights from Konica Minolta.

Comment by Olaf Lorenz, Senior General Manager, Digital Transformation Division, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe

The year ahead offers label and packaging companies / converters many new opportunities in digital printing as the world rethinks and heads to a period of stability after recovering from the rigours of a pandemic.

Gone are the days when packaging and labels were designed merely to be useful or practical as a way to identify or protect goods and products. Especially with the rise of digital production, labels and packaging is now an integral part of the branding and entire purchase experience. Using variable data and customized, bespoke solutions paves the way for providers to increase profit margins.

Driving a valuable marketing vehicle with digital production

Continuing innovations in technology will continue to enable packaging to expand a traditional functional role of transporting something in a container or a label identifying ‘what’s inside’ into a valuable marketing vehicle.  Trends for 2022 will include enhanced finishing such as embellishment, increased automation, online print purchasing and webshops, plus, of course, the unstoppable analogue to digital transition.
Demands will continue to increase for complete start-to-finish manufacturing process with more all-in-one solutions, as well as a need for production devices that need fewer and less-skilled operators.

Vital tools to convey information and enhance branding

We know that labels and packaging will continue to form the supply chains of basic necessities and provide vital tools to convey information and enhance branding. Healthcare, pharmaceutical and food and drink sectors are among the sectors that will continue to be growth areas for digital label and package printing in the future.
Brands will also use digital to provide more engagement and greater interest in their products – all in a more sustainable environment. Responding quickly with highly automated systems producing small quantities is a way of succeeding, helping brands to satisfy the rapidly changing demands of their own customers.

Simplifying production to meet rapid response demands

Aligning strategies and tactics with the forces influencing competition and customer expectations are essential, while at the same time simplifying production to meet rapid response demands from an ever-more discerning client base. Software is also a crucial component in the desire for increased profitability.


One of our major software successes has been with one of our customers, L’Oréal, for an online internal campaign using our marketing automation platform Markomi. Printing is obviously crucial to attract consumer awareness. But software capabilities enable the definition, segmentation, scheduling and tracking of multi-media marketing campaigns, such as for the global cosmetics giant, which also include print applications.

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Rethink possibilities with engaging label and packaging solutions

We see at close quarters how brand owners are looking for innovative and engaging print solutions for commercial and industrial applications. With dedicated global support delivered locally across the world, we work closely with our customers and brands in a partnership approach and continue to help them rethink print possibilities.

The growth of e-commerce is definitely a defining trend of the continued growth of digital packaging and label production for the future, and this will have a major impact for converters. In particular they need to be able to react fast, and develop e-commerce-specific packaging designs that solve the inherent challenges of postal distribution, rather than those of retail. Versioning and personalisation are also on the rise.

As a global technology provider with a local service structure, we still see significant opportunities in the years ahead for digital printing in both label and packaging production.

Making products stand out in an increasingly crowded market

This also seems to be the view or research analyststs. The Smithers Future of Packaging Long-term Strategic Forecasts to 2030 [1] makes the point that technological improvements are opening doors to increasing numbers of packaging applications. “More and more brands are looking for their packaging to tell a story to the consumer in the hope that it makes their product stand out in an increasingly crowded market,” says the report. “Personalisation allows brands to develop a personal connection with the consumer with the hope that a positive interaction will mean more sales in the future.”
In 2019, Smithers valued the digital print for packaging market at $18.9 billion with a total of 2.54 million tonnes produced. The growth estimated to be at 10.9% compound annual growth to 2024, and then at the same rate afterwards.  [2]

Pandemic is an accelerant for digital production

The “inevitable march” towards digital production in labels and packaging is accelerating, according to a market perspective from IDC on “Growth Opportunities in Digital Label and Packaging” (doc # EUR146199521, August 2021). “The pandemic has served as a disruptor and an accelerant,” says the report. “Automation is another digital boon. Ease of operation and automated workflows enabled by digital drives business growth. Integrating further processes such as digital coating, digital embossing and die cutting will help the process chain grow significantly.”
The definitive conclusion: “It appears that the scales are weighing heavily in favour of digital technology.”

Digital label and packaging production continues to make strong inroads

One partner announcement example that marks a significant technological step forward is AlphaJET, the world’s first single-pass digital factory 4.0 B1+ press from MGI Digital Technology that takes printing through to direct inline finishing all in one step with water-based UV ink technology. The opportunities for packaging are endless.


With the additional benefits of launching our new digital inkjet press for corrugated packaging, we are heading into a new year confident of continued future successes. The PKG-675i enables printers, converters and brand owners to benefit from an easy-to-use solution for their on-demand packaging production – matching the trend towards more customised printing for corrugated boxes.

Discover packaging solutions
Our market-leading AccurioLabel 230 production press using toner technology continues to break new ground, and we are understandably proud that we now have more than 850 installations around the world. According to IDC’s market forecast Western Europe Digital Label and Packaging Printer Forecast, 2021-2025 [3], our marketshare has now risen to 19.9% for digital label and packaging printer in shipments and value in 2020. And this growth will continue. Labels is a market we entered barely five years ago, yet already we’ve captured a fifth of the printer shipments in value in the digital label market for label and packaging.
In 2020, digital label and packaging (L&P) production printer shipments in Western Europe came in at 186 units at a value of $97.6 million, according to IDC [4]. The Western European digital L&P production printer market is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.1% between 2020 and 2025. Shipments of toner-based printers still have the larger share of L&P printers. Label and packaging printer shipments are expected to increase from 186 units in 2020 to 344 units in 2025.
We all recognise that the ongoing Covid-19 situation has created unprecedented challenges, but face-to-face meetings are resuming and a sense of normality is returning. Meeting up in person will be even more important at events such as the global Labelexpo in Brussels, Belgium, from April 26-29 in 2022 where in Hall 8 (stands C12 / C19) we will have a significant presence once again and will be looking forward to meeting customers and prospects.

In addition to live events we will continue to build our online presence as we help shape ideas for our customers in a partnership approach – no matter the ‘communication channel’.

Our commitment remains to deliver the best possible service to all our clients.

You can find out more here.

quotation marks

“Labels is a market we entered barely five years ago, yet already we’ve captured a fifth of the printer shipments in value in the digital label market for label and packaging”

Olaf Lorenz, Senior General Manager, Digital Transformation Division, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe

[1] Page 37, Smithers Future of Packaging Long-Term Strategic Forecasts to 2030, Georgy Cameron
[2] Page 38, Smithers Future of Packaging Long-Term Strategic Forecasts to 2030, Georgy Cameron
[3] IDC Western Europe Digital Label and Packaging Printer Forecast, 2021-2025, 2021, doc #EUR147967021, July 2021
[4] IDC Western Europe Digital Label and Packaging Printer Forecast, 2021-2025, Doc # EUR147967021, June 2021


About Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe

Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe GmbH, based in Langenhagen, Germany, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Konica Minolta Inc., Tokyo, Japan. With its unique expertise in imaging, data processing and data-based decision making, Konica Minolta creates relevant solutions for its customers - small and medium-sized businesses, large enterprises and public sector - and solves issues faced by society.


As a digital workplace solution provider, Konica Minolta helps its clients to identify and unlock the potential digitalisation holds and reach the next level in the digital maturity of their organisation by rethinking the workplace. In support of an ‘Intelligent connected workplace’, Konica Minolta offers cloud, IT, managed print and video solution services for remote working, collaboration, workflow management and automation and security. The company’s success in driving transformation is also confirmed by IDC, since the ‘IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Print Transformation 2020 Vendor Assessment’ stated that Konica Minolta is ‘recognised globally as a leader in print transformation’. Konica Minolta has been a Microsoft Global Managed Partner since 2021.


Konica Minolta's Igniting Print Possibilities offering helps printers, converters and brand owners maximise workflow automation to increase efficiency. The company delivers consultancy in all communication matters as well as top-of-the-line production, packaging as well as label printers. Its finishing devices create print products that stand out and create added value. Konica Minolta has established itself as the production printing market leader for more than a decade in Europe (InfoSource).


For an increasing number of organisations, success today is more than the narrow definition of financial prosperity – it also includes protecting the environment and having a positive impact on their workforce as well as the societies they are embedded in. With its commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Konica Minolta has pledged to consistently pursue its sustainability and social responsibility goals.


The company has been repeatedly recognised for its rich history of social contribution as well as for working towards achieving the SDGs throughout its business and supply chain. Konica Minolta is listed among “2021 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World” and received the highest level in EcoVadis Sustainability Ratings.


For its innovative service approach that complements their devices perfectly, Konica Minolta was awarded the prestigious ‘Buyers Lab PaceSetter Award for Serviceability and Support 2020/2021’ from Keypoint Intelligence.


Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe is represented by subsidiaries and distributors in more than 80 countries in Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa. With approximately 9,000 employees (as of April 2021), Konica Minolta Europe earned net sales of over 1.9 billion in financial year 2020/2021.


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Silke Ehmann-Cotichini

Team Manager Brand Positioning & Architecture, Content Strategy & Development

+49 (0) 151 622-06-281