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The Middle East region is known for its oil rich countries living next to resource-scarce ones in relation to population.
The oil price and legacy of economic policies have been defining the region’s economy. However, recent dramatic fluctuations in the oil market are putting an increasing pressure on the countries to diversify their economies.
As a direct effect of governments’ diversification initiatives, the printing and publishing industry in the region has seen an increased investment. New machinery has been continuously replacing the old equipment, which had limited capacity, and was often installed 50 years ago. With the new technology, the automation process is spreading.
This growth offers huge opportunities for printers, raw material suppliers and print equipment suppliers, but the instability in the region has meant that the amount of information available has declined. The need to acquire insight into the current print market is high as ever.
To help identify these opportunities, Smithers Pira has published a major new market study – The Future of Print in the Middle East and North Africa to 2018 – to provide interested parties with an up-to-date view of the current state of play in the Middle Eastern printing market, and providing a primary research-based projection of future activity.
Containing more than 350 tables and figures, the report offers a comprehensive overview of the market by examining the factors in play, and provides hard, quantitative market sizes and forecasts, split by print process, end-use and country.
The printing industry in the Middle East is very diverse and varies from country to country. In 2012, the Middle East print market was valued at $17.4 billion and reaching 8.0 million tonnes in output.
In 2013, Saudi Arabia is projected to account for the largest print revenues in the market; however, in volume terms, Turkey is expected to lead the market, accounting for 39% of output, followed by Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Iraq is expected to record the steepest growth rate in volumes during the year, while Syria is expected to further deteriorate due to the civil war conditions in the country, and account for the worst performance in the region.
The region’s print industry is sometimes claimed to be at an infliction point, as the growth of the newspapers in 2011 was the worst recorded.
Traditional offset lithography still dominates the printing industry in the Middle East; however flexography has witnessed significant growth because of packaging.
In the recent years, digital printing has shown a robust growth, as the demand for long runs is shrinking and short runs and variable printing are becoming increasingly popular.
Young and growing
At the end of 2012, the Middle East population was approximately 355 million, increasing by 5.7 million during the year. The region is known for having a large share of its population made up by a younger generation.
The young population is driving media consumption across different platforms, and the trend of online migration is gaining traction. Nevertheless, due to low internet penetration rates, the migration online is still significantly slower than in other parts in the world.
Meanwhile, there are huge differences between literacy rates in different regional countries, with print industry development adversely affected by low readership rates in countries like Yemen.
Political issues are significant, with languages in use and government policy on freedom of the press. Educational expenditure plays a major role in literacy and the book printing market. In addition, political instability in the region will have some negative effects on the printing market.
The storm in masses
December 18, 2010, marks a day of the start of revolutionary movement in the Middle East and North Africa, now widely known as the Arab Spring. The ground-breaking protests took over the regimes in Egypt and Yemen, while civilian protests erupted in Syria and Bahrain.
The recent uprisings in the region added to prolonged downturn in the EU economy, undermining advertisers’ confidence despite strong economic performance in the region. This resulted in private print media outlets, which heavily rely on advertising, suffering, especially ad-supported free sheets (free tabloid papers).
Commercial web, sheetfed and newspaper presses were the most affected by crisis as the size and number of newspapers in circulation declined. With the rise of protests and opposition against the oppressive regimes, a number of publishing projects were put on hold.
Overall popularity of newspapers in Middle East is high, but expected to tail off in the long-term. In many of the countries, publications must be licensed and follow guidelines on reporting, which limits the number and the content of the publishing. Self-censorship is widespread in the region.
Despite recent advancements, the Middle East printing industry is facing further challenges, as lack of specialised universities and colleges result in a shortage of skilled labour. Also, a large share of the installed machinery is outdated and second-hand.
The book market has been fuelled by the increased investment in education across the region, but was recently subdued by economic difficulties. Increasing literacy is expected to positively affect the levels of print media and print advertising adoption. However, the growth will be slow in the Middle East region and varied across countries. In the countries with low literacy, such as Yemen, the print platform is expected to come second after television as a news provider, even when these literacy levels improve.
Meanwhile, many consumer magazines are following western trends and specialising in subject matter, with women being the key target customer in the region.
Considering the most popular content of magazines amongst Middle East women is fashion and beauty, the high quality colour from sheet and web offset are demanded by high-fashion advertisers in the region. However, the market remains subdued by the deficiency of audited periodicals, as advertisers need to rely on estimations while making an investment decision.
Packaging in Middle East region has benefited from the spreading urbanisation in the region, which in turn has stimulated the processed food industries. In addition, with a growing urban population, the retail market has gone through modernisation with more products sold packaged, rather than loose. Influenced by the western trends, the region has seen much of its rigid packaging replaced by flexible, with stand-up pouches and resealable packs appearing on the shelves. Meanwhile, narrow web presses are becoming more popular, as many converters choose to print labels on the machinery.
Newspapers to decline, magazines to grow
In 2012, the largest market share was accounted for by board packaging. During the year, newspapers accounted for 16% of volumes, generating 7% of print revenues. In 2013, newspapers are expected to decline, but other print publications, such as magazines and books, are projected to grow. Wide format inkjet is expected to be one of the key growth areas in the regional market.
Overview of trends and quantitative estimations of the markets in value and volume terms (US dollars and thousands of tonnes); the estimates are given for overall markets as well individual country data by product and printing process.
Country profiles: Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, UAE, and Yemen
18 print products: Books, Magazines, Newspapers, Brochures, leaflets, flyers, etc., Catalogues, Directories, Inserts, Direct mail, Indoor signage/point of purchase, Outdoor signage/point of purchase, Business forms, Financial and legal printing, Coupons, tickets and tapes, Corrugated packaging, Folding carton packaging, Flexible packaging, Labels, and Others
9 printing processes: Sheetfed offset lithograph, Coldset web offset lithography, Heatset web offset lithography, Gravure, Flexographic, Letterpress, Screen, Electrophotography, and Inkjet
Overview of supporting industries: information and estimates of supporting industries: machinery, inks, prepress consumables, and paper substrates
Number of pages: 200
Number of tables: 380
Number of figures: 13
Forecast range: 2013-2018
Historical data: 2008-2012
Trends in print supporting industries: machinery, inks, consumables and paper substrates markets
• Relatively low cost Chinese printing equipment has entered the Middle East printing market
• Investment in new printing machinery in Middle East will increase by 1.5% despite on-going political unrest
• Digital printing will account for the largest growth in investment during the year
• Spend on electrophotographic and inkjet machinery accounting for 27.6% of total investment
• Printing ink market is dominated by flexography and offset inks
• Strong growth in demand for flexo and digital inks and colorants is projected to lead the increase in the total market
• Total printing ink consumption comes to a total of some 90,700 tonnes during the year
• Prices of consumables had significant negative impact on the businesses in the region
• Consumption of metal CtP offset plates and flexography plates are projected to grow
• Analogue plates and paper and polyester plates are to continue losing their share in the market
• Regional political unrest led to decline of newspapers’ grades
• Uncoated mechanical and uncoated woodfree papers are expected to grow
• Coated woodfree paper is projected to account for the largest share in consumption revenues amongst these paper substrates for printing purposes, and the third largest in volumes
How Can You Purchase The Report?
The Future of Print in the Middle East and North Africa to 2018 is available now for £3,950. Readers of ME Printer Magazine receive a special 20% discount, reducing the price to £3,160, if ordering before September 15th.
To claim your special discount, please go here: https://www.smitherspira.com/market-reports/print/print-in-middle-east-north-africa-2018.aspx and enter code “MEMAG20” or call Bill Allen on +44 (0) 1372 802 086 or email email@example.com
Smithers Pira is the worldwide authority on the Packaging, Paper and Print industry supply chains.
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