Packaging sales across the Middle East and North Africa will be worth AED 268 billion this year, according to the most recent research published by Smithers Pira. The emergence of many e-commerce platforms in the Middle East, such as noon.com, is among several factors fuelling the growth of the packaging industry in the region, with the value of packaging used in e-commerce rising at 25% per year. The report entitled The Future of Global Packaging to 2020 also pointed to another significant growth driver being MENA’s continued exposure to international brands and brand packaging.
Meanwhile, total packaging consumption overall (by value) across the region is growing by an average annual rate of 3.5%; increasing the region’s market share in a worldwide industry that is expanding at almost 3% year-on-year. “Local and international companies within the packaging industry are increasingly targeting the MENA region as sales volume and values continue to rise,” said Lisa Milburn, managing director of the upcoming Gulf Print & Pack 2019, the leading business networking and product showcase for the commercial print and package printing sector in the MENA region.
“The region thus presents many opportunities for both international and locally-based brands, converters and materials suppliers to innovate and grow revenues – and something we are seeing reflected in the explosion in overseas companies coming on board to this year’s Gulf Print & Pack,” Milburn added.
Swiss company BOBST, one of the world’s leading supplier of equipment and services to packaging and label manufacturers, is one of a growing number of overseas companies keen to take advantage of the burgeoning opportunities the region presents for business growth. Moez Jebali, regional sales manager for BOBST Africa and Middle East, says that among the key trends they are tracking in the region are growing packaging requirements in the food and pharmaceuticals sectors, as well as personal care.
“We also see value-added packaging solutions, quality inspections and combatting counterfeiting as some of the likely trends that will have an impact on the packaging industry in the region.” Digitalisation and cost reductions in both package printing and commercial print are also driving strategic changes within the industry.
“We have seen over the past four years that commercial printers are seeking to operate a more sleek and efficient business, enabling them to respond rapidly to customers’ demands for high quality, cost effective and creative solutions whilst streamlining their workflow,” said Pauline Brooks, Marketing Development Manager, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Middle East.
In addition, Brooks says, that in both labels and in packaging “brands increasingly want to add value through innovative decorative and tactile elements within the printed piece. In this regard, technology such as the digital embellishment systems of our strategic partner MGI is a ready-made opportunity for label converters to offer highly creative services and win new business.”
For UK company UPEX, a long-time exhibitor at Gulf Print & Pack, digitalisation has had a huge impact on businesses and has prompted many companies to acquire equipment that will cater for “ever shorter runs; faster make-readies for presses and finishing equipment. The used machinery sector reflects these changes and dealers are now buying and selling not just within the region but literally around the globe,” said Mike Steele, director, UPEX Ltd, which will be hosting a used machinery area at this year’s show.
Gulf Print & Pack 2019 will feature the latest technical innovations, products and solutions from local and international commercial print and package printing companies at the Dubai World Trade Centre from April 15 to 18, 2019.