MENA’s growing education sector boosts stationery industry, says study

Growing demand for education in the MENA region, and significant investments in the sector are driving growth in the stationery industry.

The UAE generated the highest market revenues for the stationery market in the Middle East in 2022, while South Africa led in the African markets.

Research released ahead of the 12 th edition of Paperworld Middle East, the largest international show for paper and stationery.

Dubai, UAE: The rising number of schools and universities in the Middle East and Africa has stimulated growth in the stationery market, according to a study conducted recently by 6WResearch. This upward industry trend is likely to be a significant topic of discussion at Paperworld Middle East which takes place from 21-23 November at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Commenting on the significance of the education sector boom, Syed Ali Akbar, Show Director for Paperworld Middle East and Gifts and Lifestyle Middle East said: “In 2022, the education sector accounted for 63.5% of stationery market revenue in the Middle East and Africa 1 and we have observed a correlation between the expansion of the education industry and growth in the stationery market. With increased government spending on education and rising investment from private firms across the region, the stationery market is expected to see continued growth.”

In October 2022, global investment house Safanad and international education platform Global School Management announced a joint plan to invest an initial US$200 million in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, leading to an immediate increase in student enrolment by 10,000. In addition, the UAE government has steadily increased budget allocation to education since 2020 and in South Africa, the basic education sector received a budget allocation of US$ 27.8 billion in 2022, up from 4.9% in the previous year.

Expenditure on education in the GCC region increased by an average of 13.3% this year, up from 13.1% in 2020. Saudi Arabia is expected to have the largest education market size between 2022 and 2027, with an estimated allocation of US$50 billion for the sector in 2023. Additionally, Kuwait and the UAE are projected to experience higher growth rates in student numbers compared to other Gulf countries.

According to the report, in 2022, stationery market revenue in the Middle East was US$6.4 billion, while in Africa the figure stood at US$4.34 billion. The UAE held the largest market share in Middle East stationery market revenues last year, accounting for 26.7% followed by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and Kuwait. South Africa held a quarter of the market share in the African regions- mainly due to rising school enrolments – followed by Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia and other regions. The report predicts that from 2023 to 2029, Middle East revenue will grow at a CAGR of 4.2% and in Africa, revenue is expected to rise at a CAGR of 3.6%.

Akbar concluded: “As distributors, retailers, wholesalers and franchise owners in the international stationery sector gear up for Paperworld Middle East, the latest figures bring a significant sense of optimism for the years ahead, particularly in the MENA region. Over the course of three days, the exhibition will share the latest market insights and industry opportunities among a global community of over 100 nations, setting the tone for the year ahead.”

Now in its 12 th year, Paperworld Middle East is the largest international trade show for paper, stationery, arts and crafts, office supplies and school products. Based in the central location of Dubai, Paperworld Middle East and its co-located show Gifts and Lifestyle Middle East are 50% larger than last year and expected to attract 10,000 visitors. The fastest-growing show of its kind in the world, Paperworld Middle East, will feature over 490 exhibitors from 40 countries.

Paperworld Middle East is a hub for distributors and retailers in search of everything from crafted stationery to the finest paper, along with office supplies and educational essentials. Show highlights include the Hub Forum where key figures from the E-commerce, digital and sustainable industries gather to discuss and debate the future of the paper, stationery, office supply and gift industry, and the inaugural Paperworld Middle East Awards which will celebrate excellence in the sector.

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