According to a report by Future Market Insights (FMI), the healthcare and laboratory labels market is valued at US$9.2 billion in 2022. By 2030, this figure is set to rise to US$13.5 billion, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.9% over the next eight years. The COVID-19 pandemic, demographic shifts, and advancements in medical technologies are likely to continue driving this growth – although as pharmaceutical regulations tighten, and adjacent industries struggle with supply chain tensions, there could be challenges ahead.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a significant shift in the way consumers interact with and relate to all products, not least of all pharmaceuticals. Heightened awareness about the spread of disease through contact with surfaces – especially at the start of the pandemic, before this was suggested to be a low-risk transmission route for SARS-CoV-2 – has driven up demand for contactless solutions across industries.
The possible implications of this, FMI suggests, is the use of labelling to support contactless healthcare, allowing data to be transmitted between healthcare workers and patients while minimising contact and potentially the spread of infection. This could signify changes, such as in the way doctors and pharmacists label and therefore prescribe medications.
Consumers appear to have become more aware of digital integration through methods such as QR codes, which were used, for example, to ‘check in’ at venues so that anyone exposed to COVID-19 infection could be tracked and traced. However, as COVID-19 infection rates continue to rise, it has become more difficult to track, trace, and record data, especially as the healthcare sector is increasingly under pressure due to issues like staff shortages. The use of digital labelling could, in the future, help to streamline interactions between healthcare professionals and patients.
In addition, laboratory labels have become essential for applications such as national COVID-19 testing schemes. With research into infectious diseases like COVID-19 also likely to be an expanding segment, FMI points to the importance of laboratory labels in helping with the safety and efficacy of ongoing and future research.
“On the back of these factors, the COVID-19 pandemic has catalysed the growth of the market and the demand for labels will persist high through the pandemic period,” FMI writes.
The demographic drivers of growth
As FMI explains, medical labelling is an established and essential industry already. Labels support patients in various ways – for example, understanding how to use, safely store, or maintain a medical device or medication. Patients need to be aware of the risks and benefits of a medical aid in a way they can understand, FMI adds, with labels being a key part of enabling this communication.
The main drives of growth in the industry, then, appears to be guided by changes in the medical industry and in the way patients are treated. FMI says that the use of complex medical devices and treatments in the home is rising, supported by research and development for both new and updated technologies conducted by competitive pharmaceutical companies. This will apparently make safe and effective medical labelling even more important.
Importantly, the medical industry is trialling new devices and medications on a large scale, with multiple locations around the world. FMI adds that this will also push up the demand for healthcare and laboratory labels as companies will need to ensure they are providing relevant information during production, storage, transportation, and distribution. The labels will also need to be printed in multiple languages to ensure clear, localised communication, again increasing demand, according to FMI.
FMI also notes that there are some significant demographic shifts happening that are changing the way people interact with the healthcare system in their country or region, again with ripple effects for labelling. With many countries having an ageing population, demand for healthcare is likely to increase, thus driving up demand for healthcare labels. A recent study from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, found that older adults were willing to use smart packaging, which could include RFID or NFC-enabled labels, if it was easy to use, consistent, and not too costly.
As for Millennials, FMI claims that this is a generation that is prioritising healthcare labelling. This group is allegedly more likely to research products before making purchasing decisions and will gravitate towards brands that are transparent about environmental and social issues. Healthcare labelling will be important, FMI says, in promoting brand authenticity to Millennial consumers and offering enhanced information streams, such as a supporting app for labelling solutions.
The Millennial generation is also interested in healthcare solutions that promote a healthy lifestyle, such as nutraceuticals, FMI reports. Again, this will seemingly require brands to ensure clear and transparent labelling to attract this demographic and the growth potential they offer. It seems that brands are taking note; for example, Berocca recently underwent a redesign courtesy of Free the Birds that aimed to make its scientific aspects more accessible to consumers.
Source: Packaging Europe