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Shrink Sleeves: What You Should Know About This Fast-Growing Labeling Method


Shrink sleeve labels are growing in popularity as a labeling and packaging solution for consumer packaged goods manufacturers.

An example of a shrink sleeve on a sunscreen bottle

The analysts at Mordor Intelligence valued the consumer packaging industry at nearly $185 billion in 2021 and project it to grow at an annual rate of 2.9% in the years ahead. Within this enormous sector, demand for “shrink and stretch sleeve labels” surpassed $10 billion and is expected to exceed $15 billion by 2026. These figures conceal an interesting statistic:

The projected annual growth rate for shrink sleeve labels (6.5% CAGR) is more than double that of the packaging industry as a whole.

Clearly, shrink sleeves have captured the imagination of consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers and are starting to comprise a larger share of the packaging industry. This blog offers insights into what shrink sleeves are, how they are manufactured, and the many advantages they provide when compared to other forms of labels and packaging.

What Is a Shrink Sleeve?

A shrink sleeve is a type of printed label that allows full-body coverage and 360° branding of the container to which it is applied. The finished label covers the container without visible gaps.

How Are Shrink Sleeves Made?

Shrink sleeves are an alternative to ordinary labels applied with an adhesive. Heat is used during the label application process, allowing the label to conform to fit nearly any size or shape of container. The labels themselves are made from a plastic film material such as:

  • Oriented polystyrene (OPS)
  • Polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG)
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

What Are the Advantages of Shrink Sleeves?

There are a number of significant benefits when compared to traditional pressure sensitive labels.

Shelf Appeal

Shrink sleeve films allow for extraordinarily bold colors and a variety of specialty finishes, helping the finished product to stand out on the shelf and drive consumer demand:

  • Fluorescent ink
  • Matte and gloss varnish
  • Holographic effects
  • Transparent effects
  • Cold foil and more

Marketing Impact

The uninterrupted 360° coverage is a marketer’s dream come true. The extra surface area opens the door to branding opportunities and design creativity that pressure sensitive labels cannot match.


The tight, form-fitting plastic surface of shrink sleeves is more durable and scratch resistant than paper labels and is inherently resistant to moisture.


Not only do shrink sleeves conform to containers of nearly any shape, but cans and bottles decorated this way are also easily recycled afterward.


Shrink sleeves reduce waste by enabling you to repurpose excess or obsolete containers. Instead of discarding outdated containers, simply apply new labels over the old labels.

Consumer Safety

The shrink-to-fit nature of shrink sleeves makes them ideal for tamper-evident packaging applications.

Stat: the projected annual growth rate for shrink sleeve labels is more than double that of the packaging industry as a whole

Which Industries Benefit Most From Shrink Sleeves?

The aesthetics, durability and practicality of shrink sleeves make them ideally suited for a wide range of consumer packaged goods. The next time you’re roaming the aisles, notice just how many of your favorite products are now decorated with this innovative labeling technology:

  • Beer, wine and spirits
  • CBD, cannabis and vape
  • Food and beverages
  • Health and beauty
  • Household products
  • Pet foods and supplies
  • Pharmaceuticals

Taylor: Your Full-Service Provider of Shrink Sleeves

Taylor creates custom labels and packaging for the CPG industry and shrink sleeves are among the many labeling solutions we provide. We work with all of the most popular shrink film materials to manufacture:

  • Full-body sleeves
  • Tamper-evident seal bands
  • Neck bands
  • Multi-packs and more

Taylor is a true end-to-end solution in the category. From 3D proofs and prototypes to HD-printed sleeves and referrals for shrink sleeve application equipment or bottle decorators, everything you need is available in a single partner. Best of all, our investments in narrow web flexo, digital and hybrid flexo/digital equipment gives us the flexibility to produce even short runs cost effectively.

Contact a Taylor representative to learn more.

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