Packaging and labels a growing priority for Middle East printers

Packaging and label printing in the Middle East will become an increasingly important component of the overall print market according to the latest exclusive analysis from Smithers Pira.

Packaging and label printing will be worth over $18 billion in 2017, or 64% of the total market by value in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. According to research conducted for the new Smithers Pira report The Future of Printing in the Middle East and North Africa to 2022 this market share will grow across the next five years. This mirrors a wider trend in the global print landscape as traditional sectors like newspaper print decline in the face of competition, principally from electronic media.

In contrast more and more consumers in non-western economies are making the transition from traditional markets to buying their food and other goods in supermarkets and convenience stores. This is creating new demand for printing on the packaging and its labels, opening a new avenue for print service providers.

There is variation within the transition to a modern ‘Western-style’ consumer model with packaging of nearly all goods is at different stages in different countries in the MENA region. It is at an early stage in a state like Yemen, almost complete in Israel and relatively developed in other important markets like the UAE and Turkey.

In MENA, the forecast for growing consumption of packaging print is further bolstered by a rapidly increasing population of the region is combining with other factors – such rising demand for convenience among consumers and a new focus on health awareness among more affluent consumers.

As this market expands, international brands will look to develop a presence in the wider MENA region, just as local brands will look to raise their profile and overall footprint. This elevated competition will naturally incline the market to emphasise brand enhancement and differentiation – with print on packaging representing a key means to achieve this.

For packaging Turkey is the largest national market, worth nearly a quarter of the total market. A significant proportion of this is for export to the EU which may be threatened by any future political upheavals, although this will be compensated for my greater domestic demand. Saudi Arabia is the second most valuable country for printed packaging, followed by Egypt. Iran is also a potentially high-value national market for the next five years, as it emerges from US-backed sanctions.

In label printing, there has been steady growth across the past five years, despite some tough regional economic conditions. This is being reflected in new equipment markets, with companies like Lebanon-based Dynagraph reporting soaring sales, including into hitherto less exploited countries.

The leading label press suppliers for the Middle East are Mark Andy, Gallus and Nilpeter. Other companies are active and have some strong national presences – for example, the Combat press from Gudie (now part of Bobst) is a leading solution for the Jordanian printers.

European press builders are competing with Chinese manufacturers and this is particularly fierce for lower end entry-level models.

For further information on The Future of Printing in the Middle East and North Africa to 2022 download the brochure here. 

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