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97% of Middle East & Africa Organisations Still Consider Print to Be Important to Their Business

Dan Luca, RS Consulting, Dr. George Nubar, Hendrik Verbrugghe & Ayman Aly from Canon Middle East

First-ever Middle East Insight Research Report Revealed for Gulf Print & Pack 2013

April 2, 2013 3:44 by

The print industry is still going strong and is set to grow even stronger, according to a groundbreaking study commissioned by Canon Middle East, which found that 97% of organisations in the Middle East and Africa still consider professionally-printed materials to be important to their business.

Furthermore, more than half of the organisations surveyed (54%) consider print to be more effective than any other type of media, while 90% stated that they would include print in their multi-channel communications tools, the highest percentage by far amongst all the different types of media.

The findings are in stark contrast with the widespread predictions from industry experts at the beginning of this decade that digital would gradually replace print in terms of its importance to a company’s marketing and communications strategy. In fact, the research results show that print and digital are both expected to grow in tandem and complement each other as part of integrated cross-media campaigns rather than competing for singular usage. This is further verified by the fact that almost half of organisations said that they expect to increase their use of print in the near future.

Canon Middle East, leader in imaging and business solutions, commissioned the research as part of its strategy to ensure that it first and foremost understands its customers’ needs and identifies industry trends based on local insight and international best practices in the industry. The report is based on a detailed survey of 210 users and commissioners of professional printing conducted through in-depth interviews in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco and Kenya.

“Print continues to be the number one choice for organisations in the Middle East and North Africa due to its effectiveness in transmitting a message to the end user,” says Naoshi Yamada, Deputy Managing Director, Canon Middle East. “The findings show that the world is not moving from one medium to another as expected a few years ago, it is moving towards a convergence of mediums where print, digital, social, mobile and broadcast have equally important roles as part of a multi-channel communications strategy.”

The research also showed a strong lack of awareness surrounding the latest technological developments in cross-media, with many of them unaware of the meaning or benefits of print-on-demand, web-to-print, professional photo books and customised direct mail, revealing further opportunity for the print industry in the region.

Only 47% of print buyers are aware of web-to-print services, and 22% have actually used them, so the potential market is set to be sizeable. However, applications such as web-to-print and print-on-demand are producing tangible benefits for many customers, suggesting that their usage will rise as awareness grows.

“There is an enormous opportunity for printers to educate their customers and raise awareness of what print – especially benefits of digital print applications – can do to reinforce their brand and increase the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. Customers are actively looking for better education, more creative input and insights into print innovations.

It is clear, therefore, that commercial printers are missing out on significant potential opportunities for growth and need to communicate far more frequently with their customers, putting aside any presumptions they may have about the level of their customers’ knowledge,” said Hendrik Verbrugghe, Marketing Director, Canon Middle East.

“We are committed to understand our clients, understand their business and understand what they’re looking for. The Middle East Insight Report is an invaluable piece of research because it gives our industry an insight into what the buyer of print thinks. Our largest presence at Gulf Print & Pack 2013 is a reinforcement of the power of print to businesses in the Middle East and Africa and Canon’s commitment to serving customers in these countries by delving deep into their industries to fully understand their needs. This research proves that we are willing to invest heavily in order to achieve that goal of understanding and at this year’s show, visitors will once again see that difference,” added Verbrugghe.

Canon released the findings as it prepares to make its biggest ever showing at Gulf Print & Pack 2013, the region’s premier biennial show dedicated to the printing, graphics and packaging industry.

The research results showed some similarities with attitudes and outlooks in Europe on certain fronts and some major differences on others. When it comes to the importance of print to their organisation, 87% of companies in Europe agreed, which is less than the Middle East and Africa percentage (97%) but still extremely high considering the trend towards digital/online channels in more developed European markets. Furthermore, organisations in Europe see print as one part of a multi channel approach while organisations in the region see print as the principal, main media in their approaches.

Gulf Print & Pack 2013 takes place from April 8th-11th at the Dubai World Trade Centre and features a 1000 sq. m. Canon stand – the largest ever at the show.

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