Shrink-Sleeve Trends

Shrink continues to grow! Use of Shrink-sleeve labeling is poised to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.2% until 2025.*  It’s a cost-effective way to decorate complex shaped packaging, and utilizes the full 360° of the container.  Shrink-sleeves add a lot of shelf impact to brand packaging.

So what are the trends in the world of shrink-sleeves?  Here are some things our experts have identified as potential drivers of shrink-sleeve appeal in the near future.

Eye “CANdy”

Take a closer look at some of the canned beers and premium sodas on the market.  You’ll notice a good number that appear direct printed but are actually decorated with shrink-sleeves.  Small to mid-size companies often cannot afford the cost of buying large stocks of pre-printed cans, given the high minimum quantity requirements. Because of this, many are opting to purchase smaller volumes of blank cans and decorate them with shrink-sleeves. In addition to being an economical packaging option, shrink-sleeves provide some versatility in decoration. Blank cans decorated with sleeves allow smaller companies to easily switch between brands or varieties. And the shelf-appeal of sleeved cans is turning heads.

Looking Good – Naturally!

As the technology advances, sustainable shrink materials like PLA will become more prevalent and cost-effective.  PLA (Poly-lactic Acid) is a corn-based material, so it comes from a renewable resource and decreases dependence on petroleum-based raw materials.  It is also compostable, so these labels don’t end life as solid waste in a landfill.

Upside-down Is In

Shrink-sleeves are a great decoration option for those liquid products that’ve turned the package on its head – think Heinz Ketchup and all manner of shampoo and conditioner products. It’s not only a practical way to deliver liquid products, but also an eye-catching package presentation.  More products will undoubtedly migrate to this top-down package configuration to take advantage of gravity, and shrink-sleeves will most-likely be the decoration of choice for many.

Health & Wellness

There are a LOT of healthy food and drink choices on the market, and new ones are appearing every day. These products need a good deal of space to make their nutritional claims and to list their dietary benefits. And let’s not forget the ingredient and other regulatory information required in this sector. Shrink-sleeves provide a lot of package real estate on which to print all of this, along with the branding and consumer appeals that marketing demands.  If you need more room, think shrink!

There’s a Cover Up!

Beverage companies struggle at times with pre-printed can and bottle inventory which has become obsolete for any number of reasons. A recent trend has seen these companies turn to shrink-sleeves to ‘cover-up’ the existing decoration and outdated verbiage.  Rather than having to discard obsolete packaging and swallow the loss, the cans or bottles get new life with shrink-sleeve decoration.

Let the experts at AWT tell you more about shrink-sleeves and how you can add some pop to your packaging.

*Research and Markets (

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