Holograms to surge in packaging for security

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New demand for security and authentication devices to tackle the threat of counterfeiting caused by the Covid crisis will strengthen the printed holography for packaging market in 2021, according to the global hologram trade body.

Holograms: label security
Holograms: label security

The International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA) says authentication and track-and-trace systems that use holographic technologies will help to underpin international efforts by government and law enforcement agencies to bolster overt and covert protection strategies in the next 12 months.

It says recent media reports about the dangers of buying fake products online indicate that the pandemic will contribute towards the push for more security devices.

Haircare brands, cosmetics and skincare tools among other consumer goods have been hit hard, with reports of a 56 per cent increase in counterfeit products sold online across 700 brand clients in the first six months of this year. The IHMA says home skincare device companies and haircare brands, for instance, have seen counterfeit sales increased by almost 40 per cent.

The World Health Organisation has said that a growing volume of fake medicines are on sale in developing countries, while Interpol has seen an increase in fake medical products. Seizures of fake Covid tests and personal protective equipment (PPE) have been reported by both the US CBP and the World Customs Organisation.

The IHMA predicts this situation will continue in the next 12 months, while growth in packaging authentication devices will stay "strong and lucrative" on the back of forecasts that the market for anti-counterfeit pharmaceuticals and cosmetics packaging will reach more than US$10bn by the end of 2026, growing by nine per cent in the next five years despite the current situation.

Anti-counterfeiting: Holograms
Anti-counterfeiting: Holograms

The overall global market for anti-counterfeit packaging is projected to be worth in excess of US$188bn by 2025.

A poll has revealed that almost 50 per cent of hologram manufacturers and suppliers are seeing an increase in demand from customers, specifiers and end-users for holographic devices and technologies. This indicates that hologram users will continue to be concerned about the impact of counterfeiting on e-commerce supply chains as the pandemic continues to be felt well into new year.

The IHMA advises brand owners and product manufacturers to tackle the threats, stepping up plans for investment in authentication and verification technologies to protect brands, profits and reputations.

IHMA chair, Dr Paul Dunn, said: “Criminals are infiltrating global supply channels, deploying scams and counterfeits to trick people during these difficult times. Furthermore, items such as falsified medicines and drugs pose a terrible threat and can endanger lives.

“It’s clear that in the face of the continued impact of Covid, we can legitimately say brand owners, law enforcement, government and other influencers will continue to push demand for authentication and brand protection devices such as holograms.”

Dunn said holography will continue to find new applications in areas such as medical surgery, head-up display technologies and other smart devices, which enrich people’s lives.

“Display holograms, which can be overlooked and a small sector within the holographic sector, possess growth potential. The growing demand for this type of advanced holography for medical imaging in the healthcare industry, for example, is encouraging and will contribute to driving the sector’s growth in 2021,” Dunn said.

IHMA says the use of authentication solutions, as advocated by the ISO12931 standard, enables examiners to verify the authenticity of a legitimate product, differentiating it from fake products coming from counterfeiting hot spots in Asia and eastern Europe. It says even those that carry a fake authentication feature can be distinguished from the genuine item if that item carries a carefully thought-out authentication solution.

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