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Middle East’s education sector leads region-wide revival in US$6.05 billion stationery, office supplies market – report

25 Nov 2021

UAE, Saudi comprise nearly 50 percent market share as global suppliers prepare for return of Paperworld Middle East 2021

Dubai, UAE: The Middle East education sector is leading a region-wide revival in demand for stationery and office supplies, with the UAE and Saudi Arabia comprising nearly 50 fifty percent of an estimated US$6.05 billion market in 2021, according to new research.

A November 2021 whitepaper by analysts 6Wresearch indicates a thriving education sector along with increasing disposable income, growing youth population, and improving economic conditions, has driven demand for stationery and office supplies in the Middle East.

While the market predictably dipped in 2020 due to covid-19 induced lockdowns, it quickly bounced back this year, and further growth of 4.2 percent annually is predicted between 2021 and 2027, when revenues will reach US$7.76 billion.

The UAE, which has 639 public schools and 580 private schools with a combined 1.08 million enrolled students, is the biggest contributor to regional stationery and office supplies demand, with a 27 percent share in 2021 (US$1.63 billion) followed by Saudi Arabia, which has a 20 percent slice (US$1.21 billion).

The 6Wresearch report was produced exclusively ahead of Paperworld Middle East, the region’s largest international trade exhibition for stationery, paper, gifts, office supplies, and children’s toys and games, which will mark its 10th anniversary at the Dubai World Trade Centre from 14-16 December 2021. 

More than 150 exhibitors from 37 countries will be eager to tap into the pent-up demand in the Middle East education and commercial offices sectors alike, which comprise 61 percent (US$3.7 billion) and 34 percent (US$2.05 billion) of the stationery and office supplies market respectively.

Organised by Messe Frankfurt Middle East, Paperworld Middle East 2021 returns with regular long-time exhibitors including the UAE’s Capital Envelopes, The Navigator Company from Portugal, Beaumont Group from France, WZ Eurocopert from Poland, and Japan’s Zebra.

Luxor from India is another returning exhibitor showcasing its entire portfolio, including permanent and whiteboard markers, highlighters, pens, as well as specialised markers for metal, fabric, and glass.

Pooja Jain Gupta, Managing Director at Luxor, said its specialty marker range that also includes paint and chalk markers, is a new development, while the manufacturer will also launch in the Middle East its kids’ marker range.

“The rising popularity of multi-utility writing instruments is a major trend driving market growth,” said Gupta.  “Luxor has used its strength to develop innovative value packs; a range of writing instruments to cover the needs of ‘Work from Home’ and ‘School from Home’ activities.

“Children’s products covering their creative learning is another high growth area, and as pioneers in writing instruments, we are seeking innovative ways to add value to our range of products and categories.”

Elsewhere, Brazilian brand Caderno Inteligente is a debut Paperworld Middle East 2021 exhibitor presenting its premium range of notebooks and stationery accessories with a unique twist: “We’ve created a premium solution that allows our users to customise their notebooks and backpacks according to their needs, while revolutionising and bringing a touch of fashion to the stationary world,” said Rogerio Barrozo, International Sales Manager at Caderno Inteligente.

“Our solution is eco-friendly, and 100 percent recyclable. Different from regular notebooks, our range allows CI lovers to always have a new notebook without the need of disposing of it.

“It’s a modular product that allows people to change every part of it, making it possible for people to keep it ‘forever’.  Caderno Inteligente was created to help students, workers, and people to better organize their lives and tremendously decrease waste.”

Paperworld Middle East will return with a number of special features, including the two-day Hub Forums conference programme; the Playworld Village replete with children’s toys and games; and Project Sustainability, a specially curated section that shines the spotlight on eco-friendly products and supplies.

The annual three-day event is also co-located with Gifts & Lifestyle Middle East, a new platform for gifts, accents, and lifestyle products.

Syed Ali Akbar, Show Director for both exhibitions, said: “The Middle East and Africa remains a major market for paper, stationery, and office supplies, with manufacturers viewing the region as a key customer base with high demand for printed media products.

“While the market continues to be driven by leading international brands, there’s a growing niche for local and regional players with specialised products catering to regional preferences. 

“At Paperworld Middle East 2021, we’re welcoming a significant number of key global players and start-ups alike, but all have common objectives; to showcase their latest innovations to thousands of regional trade buyers, strengthen distribution networks, source new clients, and network within the industry.”

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