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Asia dominates world beer label demand

China's Snow Beer (produced via SAB Miller's JV with CR Snow) is the world's top-selling beer

Asia dominates the world market for beer labels but the market is still dominated by old-style wet glue applied labels, but pressure-sensitive labels continue to make inroads in North America.

That’s according to Alexander Watson Associates’ (AWA’s) ‘Global Beer Label Market Study 2013’ released in November, which estimates that in 2012, the amount of labeling used to decorate the world’s beer bottles totalled 3.292bn m2.

Asia tops the tree accounting for 47% of volumes, followed by Europe (19%), South America (15%), Africa and the Middle East (11%) and North America (8%).

“Growth by region is dictated by the growth in beer volumes and by the competition from alternative packaging styles,” AWA’s analysts write.

The company estimates that global volume labels will reach around 3.85bn by 2017, with Africa and the Middle East leading the way (5% CAGR) followed by Asia (3%) and South America (3.5%).

Pressure sensitive labels score in North America

But despite its prediction of circa. 2.4% global CAGR for beer labels, AWA expects volumes to fall in established markets: North America (-0.25%), Europe (0.5%).

Exploring 2012 demand in North America, the researchers state that 62% of labels were applied using wet glue (usually starch and water based) 32% were pressure sensitive (with an adhesive back it will adhere to most surfaces) 4% sleeve labels and 2% wraparound glue.

The respective percentages in Europe – where wraparound glue applied labels are more popular – are 64%, 10%, 1% and 25%.

In developing markets the market is dominated by wet glue applied labels: 94% in Asia, 84% in South America and 94% in Africa and the Middle East.

Pressure sensitive labels are the second-biggest choice in South America (14%) Africa and the Middle East (6%) and Asia (4%), where no other label types account hold significant market share.

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