Highlighting key trends in the Middle East label industry, Epson MEA says growing demand for high quality, on-demand labels and personalization in printing is the driving force behind digital print in the region.
The label industry in the Middle East played an integral role in the healthcare, retail, warehousing and logistics sectors during the pandemic, helping them stay afloat and even grow.
Abderrazek Hakimi, sales manager, business systems solutions, Epson Middle East, says that the pandemic has been a driving force behind the rapid development of label converters in the region.
‘Businesses evolved as a result of the pandemic, some of these were manufacturing urgent products such as hand sanitizers and medical supplies. Many businesses had to change their business model to supply to online delivery, where none was previously offered, and this increased opportunities for label production,’ he explains.
Epson MEA observes a trend towards remote or online ordering of label products and custom-made labels for specific customers or brands, which is creating a growing demand for digital print technology.
UAE and Saudi Arabia are the key players in the regional market, with increasing demands for the higher quality labels and prints for luxury and food and beverage manufacturers
‘Epson’s focus for digital label printing has been an ongoing effort for over a decade, from on-demand, inkjet to customized printing. Digital printing is the new norm, as it allows businesses the flexibility to print almost anywhere at any time and on any scale,’ Hakimi adds.
Opportunities brought by Covid-19
Hakimi says that the pandemic has brought opportunities to digital label and packaging converters to serve a market demand that never existed before.
‘For instance, the rise of labeling for Covid-19-related products such as hand sanitizers or even pre-printed label stickers for social distancing. Epson Middle East was able to tap into this new market, both through digital label products using fast-drying, durable color inks, and large format printers, allowing printing on several materials.’
While digital label printing is growing globally, the Middle East is a diverse market, with each country within the region advancing at its own pace according to local market demand and requirements. UAE and Saudi Arabia are the key players in the regional market, with increasing demands for the higher quality labels and prints for luxury and food and beverage manufacturers. Hakimi also sees growing investment in Egypt’s industrial and manufacturing sectors.
Hakimi sees a good potential for digital label printing, but also the need to raise awareness and educate converters on the benefits it brings.
Developments at Epson MEA
Epson Middle East has been working closely with a wide range of end users.
‘Just recently, Epson has installed the ColorWorks TM-C7500G inkjet label printer to support an end user with its manufacturing processes and the ColorWorks TM-C3500 printer for a retail group in Egypt for printing price tags and small labels,’ adds Hakimi.
The company is using remote training and maintenance for its channel partners. On-site visits are conducted in line with government guidelines if an issue is critical.
‘Rest assured we are still here to support all our partners and customers as readily as we were before. As we have all found, the physical distance has actually bought us closer in many ways. The pandemic has forced us to realize that we can do this just as effectively remotely in many cases, saving resources, time and reducing our carbon footprint.’