State of the Middle East Print Industry Study: Insights

First-ever printer and brand survey, conducted in 2020 in the Region

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COVID-19’s Impact On Print In The Region

Amid the global crisis, Canon Middle East believed that now is the time to take the pulse of the region’s print market.

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The Region’s First-Of-Its-Kind Market Research Study

Canon Middle East (CME) and print industry news leader ME Printer joined forces in the summer of 2020 to conduct the region's first-of-its-kind ‘State of the Printing Industry’ research study. The findings of the study were published in an August 2020 report to provide fresh news and perspectives to Print service providers and Corporates. It also highlights the shift towards digitisation, a move accelerated by the current situation and gives an in-depth look into the opportunities, challenges and the latest market trends in the region during COVID-19, more specifically within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

Businesses Are Now Planning For The Post-COVID Future

The study surveyed print service providers and Corporates, highlighting trends around digitisation, sustainability, usage, and the value of various print applications. It revealed how print decision makers are preparing their business investment strategies now for the post-COVID-19 future. The study recognises the varied opinions between corporates and print service providers on the evolution of the industry, especially with regards to sustainable printing solutions, and aims to establish closer dialogue on the issue between both groups. The industry-first study supports print service providers looking to implement an informed and sustainable business strategy based on their customers’ requirements in a post-COVID world.

Print in 2020: A State of Disruption and Evolution

“We cannot be in denial. We have moved out of our old norm,“ states Shadi Bakhour, Canon Middle East’s business unit director, as he speaks directly about changes to the print industry caused by the pandemic and by economic and technological forces

“In our new norm, print service providers must adapt to interact digitally with the market. People don’t go online, they live online. Due to the global impact of the coronavirus, some industry sectors will take some time to recover, and some may never come back,” Bakhour said.

“Digital printing and digital technology will be the new norm. Large print volumes will go away and the industry is shifting to brands’ new requirements. Digital printing will play a much bigger role than before. customers will have more opportunities to reimagine their print experience. Canon Middle East is supporting our clients by providing them with more capabilities to be agile in this new business era.”

Insights and Key Learnings Extracted From the Report

From the survey’s analysis, seven insights emerged.

Insight 1: The virus has a significant impact on the economy and the prospects for print’s post-COVID-19 future. Brands feel the pressure, and many do not plan to increase their print budgets next year.

Insight 2: Printers plan to invest in new print applications, but these plans have not yet converted into action. Many are waiting until the future is clearer. Growth opportunities under consideration are security printing and commercial printing.

Insight 3: The drive for sustainability is conflicted. Printers’ investment is constrained by a perception of higher costs. But most brands plan to invest more in print sustainability. Printers will have to invest to meet brands’ shifting demands.

Insight 4: The print market needs equipment financing. Less than half of printers say OEMs provide funding access for new machinery and solutions. This may not be sufficient as printers say their top concern is a lack of financing availability.

Insight 5: Brands favor print’s value despite trends toward digitisation. A key insight here is that brands believe that the printing of essential documents will actually increase in the future.

Insight 6: Print’s value-add solutions are enabling the analog-to-digital print transformation. Cloud-enabled digital services are improving workflow and automation is reducing labor cost.

Insight 7: There is continued growth in digitally-printed packaging. Ecommerce and the home delivery sector are experiencing tremendous growth as remote work continues as the new norm.

Further value comes from additional key learning

Inside these seven themed insights are additional key learnings, 20 overall, that were extracted and considered from the response data. These learnings can be viewed and studied in more detail through a free report available from CME here.

In the end, it is clear that business continuity is a critical concern for today’s print service providers. Printers no longer have the luxury of being allowed to print large quantities of print jobs, storing them, and shipping as needed. They also need to remain attentive to the shifting attitudes, behaviors, and demands of print-buying brands.

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