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15 Nov 2023

What’s new in the Middle East: The latest trends in the printing industry

Bazil Cassim
The GCC digital printing market has been growing for quite some time and the opportunities for the print sector continue to evolve. In fact, stats show that the market is expected to have a mean annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.93%, reaching a value of USD 1057.4 Million between 2023 and 2028.[1] Recent studies have also shown wide format to be a promising growth area, with 75% of regional printers seeing expansion in this sector.[2]

If you’re not familiar with the local market or you’re expanding into print in this region, you might be wondering what are the trends and factors driving this growth? And how can I personally capitalise on the opportunities these bring? You’ve come to the right place! With less than three months to go to our inaugural FESPA Middle East exhibition, in this blog, I wanted to touch on a few of the key trends driving change in the Middle East.

Rising pressure for improved environmental sustainability

Unsurprisingly, sustainability is playing an increasingly important role in shaping market demands and production processes in the Middle East. Driven by growing concerns about climate change and waste reduction, print buyers are no longer just seeing sustainable design and manufacturing as a ‘nice to have’. As regional printers face the impact of rising energy and material costs, making production more streamlined and implementing environmentally conscious processes are imperative. To support this, many regional countries have invested in renewable energy infrastructures, such as solar and wind farms, and are encouraging local businesses to make use of these through incentives and strict regulations.

As a result, sustainability will be at the forefront for print businesses in this region. Having the right technology and software in place is key to successfully making a production line more environmentally responsible. In line with this, a large number of our exhibitors will showcase sustainable solutions and products at FESPA Middle East 2024.

And, at FESPA, one of our main goals is to give printers global access to resources which will help them along their journey to becoming more sustainable. I use the word journey because it isn’t a ‘quick fix’ or a ‘one size fits all’ approach. We understand that looking at and improving your environmental impact takes time and guidance to get right. To support local printers to take their next sustainable steps, at FESPA Middle East, our Sustainability Spotlight feature will offer visitors actionable advice on environmentally conscious production, highlight regional businesses championing sustainability, as well as showcase environmentally friendly materials and alternatives to standard substrates.

Anyone looking for further information and advice about sustainability can access an array of resources by becoming a FESPA Member. Not only do we have a series of ‘Planet Friendly Guides’, but we also released the findings of our most recent global FESPA Print Census a few months ago, a large part of which covers sustainability.

To find out more about becoming a FESPA Direct member and the included benefits, visit:

Booming textile printing market

Garment production and decoration have been accelerated by the growth of e-commerce, which is at an all-time high. As consumers and retailers become increasingly aware of the benefits of on-demand technologies, this thriving sector is predicted to accelerate further.

We’re seeing a shift towards more streamlined and automated processes in the textile printing sector, to save energy and resources as well as reduce waste. Software further improves production timescales in the custom garment sector, while automation simplifies the complicated tasks associated with personalised garment production. Direct-to-garment (DTG) printed team logos, numbers, colours and variable data, for example, are now added seamlessly, without human intervention, using smart technologies for global fulfilment.

Visitors to FESPA Middle East 2024 can explore an array of technology, software, media and consumable innovations, including end-to-end solutions for textile production, screen printing carousels, substrates, inks and more!

Growing event, tourism and hospitality demands

The Middle East has become a popular travel destination, which brings new revenue and increased funding with it. Local printers can capitalise on the tourism market with an array of applications including printed interior décor for retail and hospitality spaces and commercial and way-finding signage, for example.

And especially in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, events are presenting an ever-increasing opportunity for printers and signmakers. From popular sporting events such as Formula 1 and the Football World Cup to global exhibitions and music festivals, the Middle East is quickly becoming a popular destination for event organisers all needing support with wayfinding and advertising applications.

We’re confident that whatever market trend you’re looking to capitalise on, with our strong line-up of exhibitors at FESPA Middle East, you’re bound to find solutions to meet your needs and connect with experts to guide your business forward.

We’re excited about expanding our presence in this new market to help you take hold of new opportunities and we look forward to welcoming you. See you soon!

You can register to attend using code FMEM407.




[1] Source: Mordor Intelligence, ‘GCC Digital Printing Market Size & Share Analysis - Growth Trends & Forecasts (2023 - 2028)’, 2023

[2] Source: Canon, ‘State of the Middle East Print Industry’, 2023