Paperworld Middle East, the largest international show for paper, stationery, arts and crafts, office supplies, and school products wrapped up its 12th edition. Held in conjunction with its co-located event Gifts & Lifestyle Middle East, the exhibition grew 50% from last year and welcomed visitors from over 100 countries.
Commenting on the 2023 edition, Syed Ali Akbar, Show Director of Paperworld Middle East and Gifts & Lifestyle Middle East, says, “Over the course of the past three days, visitors to the show have been able to explore over 400 unique exhibitors and more than 1,000 brands. The events set the ecosystem for the international paper trade in the region and gather industry leaders from every corner of the world under one roof. This year has been a resounding success with many productive deals secured.”
With the industry constantly evolving, an interactive panel at The Hub Forum on ‘Market Trends, Digital Transformation and Sustainable Alternatives’ explored new technology and the importance of digitalisation in the Middle East paper industry. The experts from leading paper manufacturers from around the world also shared their insights on eco-friendly processes and the pivotal role they are playing in reshaping the paper industry.
Speaking during the session, Riya Jadhav, Co-founder and Ecommerce Director of UK-based e-commerce and consultancy firm iDigitalise, says, “The advent of technology and the digital space has brought about a complete transformation in the printing industry, affecting both the production process and the way products are delivered to consumers. With the help of precision-based tools, we are now able to identify what consumers want and provide it to them on-demand.”
Fellow panelist Vibhor Khandelwal, Managing Director & Head of International Business at India-based IT company Expand My Business, adds, “The digital era presents an opportunity for stationery suppliers to broaden their product offerings by venturing into new areas such as digital notepads and pens. Adapting to technological advancements is crucial for businesses to remain competitive.”
The concluding panel titled ‘Looking Ahead: An outlook on trends shaping the paper and stationery industry’, saw paper industry experts from Alia Mohammed Trading Co., Capital Envelopes, Ittihad Paper Mill, and MEPCO Gulf share their closing thoughts and predictions for the sector’s future.
According to MEPCO Gulf Chairman and owner Fadi Baaklini, the UAE will remain a particularly strong market for paper demand in the coming years. The panelists unanimously agreed that the preference for sustainable products would continue to rise, particularly as the younger, more eco-conscious generation comes of age.
Parvesh Kapoor, Director, Alia Mohamed Trading Co., highlighted the growth of e-commerce, while Ritesh Gupta, Sales Manager at Ittihad Paper Mill believes that face-to-face interaction with consumers will always be significant despite the digital world’s growth.
Ali Haider, CEO at Capital Envelopes, concludes, “Paper is here to stay. It is one of the most sustainable products on the planet and is fully biodegradable. The packaging industry is a particular opportunity for the paper sector moving forward as e-commerce grows and companies look for more suitable alternatives to plastic for their packaging.”
On the closing day of Paperworld Middle East and Gift & Lifestyle Middle East, visitors were able to unlock their creative potential at the inspiring Artistry Workshops, taking place in collaboration with Funun Arts. As well as painting and sculpting, these workshops offered a unique opportunity to learn about arts-based sustainability projects, bridging the gap between physical and digital art and the power of art therapy.
The final strokes were also made on the collaborative live art project ‘Signature Canvas’. Painted by Jivan Hovhannisyan, Saida Banu, Shiba Khan, and Stefania Pomillo – four exceptional artists – the striking piece of art illustrates the interconnectedness of the world and highlights the UAE’s pivotal role as a welcoming and unifying centre for individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds. The Signature Canvas was donated to the Special Needs Future Development Center in Dubai, a training centre for young adults with special needs.
Elsewhere, senior buyers and key decision-makers in the paper industry continued to enjoy the exclusive programme at The Premium Club, including the opportunity to foster meaningful connections between key buyers and exhibitors.
The next edition of Paperworld Middle East and Gift & Lifestyle Middle East will take place from 12-14 November, 2024, at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).