The association's survey of European pressure-sensitive materials consumption showed that demand in the last quarter of 2008 dropped across the whole of Europe by 7 percent. FINAT general secretary Jules Lejeune predicted a similar drop over the first quarter 2010. Even Eastern Europe, which has long been the great motor for European label industry growth, tilted into negative territory, with far worse figures for the more developed nations.

But there is some evidence that this vicious downturn might not get any worse. A survey of delegates - a good cross-section of the industry in terms of suppliers, converters and end users - showed that around half believed the recession has bottomed out.

An interesting presentation from design expert Steve Kelsey, whose agency handles major global blue chip accounts, demonstrated how key brands had been launched into the teeth of equally ferocious recessions, including Apple, Google and Starbucks. When the upturn came these brands were perfectly positioned for exponential growth. Kelsey's advice was for label converters to act as teams with brands looking to identify markets and create the innovative decoration concepts necessary to launch the next iconic, recession-born brand successes.

On this subject, please make sure you read the feature by our new columnist Paul France of Procter & Gamble in L&L issue 3, which looks at how to approach the innovation process.


Andy Thomas is strategic director of Labels & Labeling.

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