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2021 Growth in Digital Labeling and Packaging

2021 Growth in Digital Labeling and Packaging

Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "2021 Growth in Digital Labeling and Packaging," looks at 2021 forecasts targeting the package printing industry, including digital labeling.  Throughout 2020, digital printing supply chains' ability to respond swiftly and effectively to market conditions, regardless of the global pandemic, has demonstrated that print labeling and packaging will grow in 2021.  We are well aware that some industries are thriving in the face of the health crises, while others are facing decline.  Brick and mortar establishments continue to grapple with in-person shopping, and many have closed their doors, some for good.  That said, commercial printing organizations that offer Lettershop and Fulfillment solutions, particularly with packaging and labeling expertise, have fared far better than many sectors in 2020.  As we face increased projections for stay-at-home policies, while the workforce in many cases migrates to a hybrid standard, it has reduced office space overall.  Meanwhile, some sectors will not recover in 2021, such as group exhibitions and business travel.  As a result, digital marketing and direct mail marketing campaigns should increase during the new year.

Quote of the Day: "Packaging can be theater, it can create a story."
- Steve Jobs

The need for packaging requirements is drifting into other sectors, particularly in the e-commerce space, along with healthcare solutions' demand for increasing the number of warning labels, particularly relating to vaccines, pharmaceuticals, and hand sanitizer labeling.  As entrepreneurial, small, online start-up businesses continue to grow, we anticipate that there will be a growing demand for short-run digital offers, which bodes well for direct mail marketing, with the focus on packaging.

Consumers Still Expect Great Experiences

Customer experiences and added value are top of mind for most consumers.  In the print universe, growth projections are in play. However, that growth will be more challenging to achieve.  Historically, television offerings were based on purchasing 30 or 60-second spots, with an internet solution as a bundle purchase, in limited situations.  During this period, creative solutions were frowned upon by many sales managers, GMs, and local affiliate station presidents.  It took the emergence of the 2008 Great Recession to move the needle for broadcasters to understand that brands wanted more creative options from television, and now there are a host of streaming services.

We are now in a similar situation, except that we have a global pandemic sharing the stage with a worldwide recession, which could spike into a full-blown depression.  The fact is that all sectors are facing new challenges, and commercial printers should begin to say yes to more requests, and in so doing, realize a new revenue stream.

The good news! More new businesses have registered in 2020 than in previous years.  While these businesses are considered start-ups, integrated business solution providers should seek them out and offer creative solutions to package and market their offerings.

Web to Packaging

The Web-to-Pack sector (web to packaging) is experiencing a surge due to the e-commerce explosion.  This surge has shifted the priority among many providers due to the global pandemic.  This rising trend in packaging for e-commerce was creating an increased demand for additional packaging solutions.  It improved unboxing experiences, which will lead to more packaging solution vendors entering and capturing the market, mostly by launching their organizations online to meet new demands.

As a result, the forecast indicates that the type of packaging vendors expected to emerge in addressing web-to-pack solutions will be folding cartons and corrugated converters.  Those commercial printing organizations that are experts in packaging, typically under the "Lettershop and Fulfillment" header, can also expect to do well in 2021.

Another aspect of packaging will include better sustainable materials, less waste, and more innovative solutions to better assist brands with engaging their target audiences.

Print 4.0

While the packaging segment is a growth sector for 2021, the print industry will have to grow to 4.0.  As AI and digital technology will continue to lead the way forward, a forecast suggests that small family-owned print organizations will give way to much larger companies, driven in part by private equity firms.  The best bet for commercial print organizations that offer a complete array of printing solutions and services, including mailing and packaging expertise, will be survival of the fittest.

While reduced pricing will be a challenge for all sectors, the print industry should focus on efficiency and innovation over the next 12-18 months.  We will undoubtedly experience pricing battles and non-performing businesses' demise; however, those that offer affordable, innovative solutions will be the winners in 2021.

Brand Positioning

Spending behavior overall will see a fair share of challenges for months to come, and it is unclear as to how and when pre-COVID-19 spending levels will return.  Keep in mind that brick and mortar spending before the onset of the pandemic was already in decline.  As of 2018, e-commerce spending levels were increasing at breakneck speed.  Brands have used packaging to create brand positioning in the marketplace.  That trend will become more important and sought after in 2021.  However, premium packaging will become less critical as the focus will shift to other forms of promotion forms, such as online marketing.

That said, commercial printing organizations that can offer high-quality, short-run, multi-SKU print packaging collateral should fare much better in 2021.

Packaging aside, it is also important to remember that direct mail marketing helps deliver increased engagement and response rates for digital destinations, including e-commerce sites.

The Net-Net

As we move into the next phase of vaccine treatment for COVID-19, it is important to remember that consumer habits will continue to evolve and accelerate.  Patterns such as the transition from analog to digital technology are one example.  Working remote versus in an office setting is another.  So it is with digital labeling and packaging, and the solution providers who are best situated to make the transition will benefit the most.  Those who can effectively supply innovative printing, packaging, and labeling will be among those providers who will rise to the top and thrive.  Thanks for taking a moment to read 2021 Growth in Digital Labeling and Packaging!

Let's have a conversation about integrated business solutions and how they can help grow your business, change behavior, and improve the customer experience. Let us show you how to improve your document processes to optimize your workflow, reduce your costs, and maximize your organization's printing, letter shop, and mailing capabilities. Dove Direct has an official USPS certified bureau located within our offices that will save you time and money. We can even create a demo file for you.

For more information, call Carla Eubanks at 404-629-0122 or email Carla at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Dove Direct, your Atlanta based print and mail solutions provider, offers organizations end-to-end data, printing, and mailing solutions:

  • Data Management
  • Variable Digital Printing
  • LetterShop and Fulfillment
  • Fully Automated MLOCR Presort Bureau
  • Marketing and Production Management Support
  • Secure Data Life Cycle Management

If you don't want to wait, you can reach Dove Direct today by calling 404-629-0122 or use the Contact Form for Dove Direct.

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