97 per cent of Middle East companies including in Oman, dependent on print for business: Report

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

According to the Middle East Insight Report on printing and packing in Gulf, over half of the organisations surveyed (54 per cent) considered print to be more effective than any other type of media, while 90 per cent said they included print in their multi-channel communications tools, the highest percentage amongst the different types of media.

The report is based on a detailed survey of 210 users and commissioners of professional printing conducted through interviews in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco and Kenya, a press release said.

The findings are in contrast with the widespread predictions from industry experts, with results showing that print and digital media are expected to grow in tandem and complement each other as part of integrated cross-media campaigns rather than competing for singular usage.

“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,” stated 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,” he added.

The research also showed a 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 print industry in the region.

Only 47 per cent of print buyers are aware of web-to-print services, and 22 per cent have actually used them. However, applications such as web-to-print and print-on-demand are producing benefits for customers, suggesting that their usage will rise as awareness grows, according to the report.

“There is an enormous opportunity for printers to educate customers and raise awareness of what print, especially benefits of digital print applications, can do to reinforce their brand. Customers are looking for better education, more creative input and insights into print innovations,” stated Hendrik Verbrugghe, marketing director, Canon Middle East.

“It is clear that commercial printers are missing out on potential opportunities for growth and need to communicate far more frequently with customers, putting aside any presumptions they may have about the level of their customers’ knowledge.”

Verbrugghe added, “The Middle East Insight Report is an invaluable piece of research as it gives our industry an insight into what the buyer of print thinks.”

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 per cent of companies in Europe agreed, which is less than the Middle East and Africa percentage (97 per cent) but still considered as being high given the trend towards digital/online channels in more developed European markets.

In addition, organisations in Europe see print part of a multichannel approach, while organisations in the Middle East region see print as the principal, main media in their approaches.