While there is competition in the signage and graphics sector, there is no shortage of busines Image Credit: Shutterstock

With a barrage of brands wishing to advertise their products in innovative ways, the signage industry is having to keep up with some heavy demands.

“Signage and graphics is a big industry in the UAE,” says Wissam Haddad, Managing Partner, Future World Advertising and Marketing. “The proof is the presence of all the international names in the market.”

While there is competition in the sector, there is no shortage of business.

Signage and graphics is a big industry in the UAE. The proof is the presence of all the international names in the market.

- Wissam Haddad, Managing Partner, Future World Advertising and Marketing

Growth forecast

“What is fuelling demand in the sector is the continuous growth of the UAE,” says Haddad. “Expo 2020 is something everyone is waiting for and this is an addition to the available opportunities in the UAE.”

Biju Thomas, Group CEO, You and Eye Advertising, is also upbeat about the sector’s growth prospects, highlighting that growth in realty and retail will drive demand for signage and graphics. “As long as real estate and malls are expanding, we only see growth of our sector.”

As long as real estate and malls are expanding, we only see growth of our sector.

- Biju Thomas, Group CEO, You and Eye Advertising

With ubiquitous opportunities, the signage industry must keep up with new trends.

Going interactive

“Digital and interactive signage is shaping the sector,” says Haddad.

Indeed, the days of static signboards are fast coming to an end. Today’s signage demands the attention of their target audience.

“The unidirectional and static dissemination of information is fast being replaced by dynamic and interactive visuals across various establishments,” says Farook Ummar, Managing Director, Brand ME Advertising.

The unidirectional and static dissemination of information is fast being replaced by dynamic and interactive visuals across various establishments.

- Farook Ummar, Managing Director, Brand ME Advertising

“Static media doesn’t cut it anymore, as there is a strong demand from customers to introduce the wow effect in their interactions with businesses. Aside from that, organisations cannot afford to spend time on replacing in-store graphics and signage to reflect a new promotion or sale.”

Some of the traditional elements such as lightboxes, static signage and display stands are now making way for LED screens, video walls and digital kiosks.

“Way-finding signs are being replaced by 3D way-finding solutions in malls and large buildings,” Ummar says. “The speed of information propagation and attractive visuals are a big value addition to businesses in order to attract customers. Furthermore, with increasing demand, the cost of such solutions is going down, making them more accessible to businesses.

“Various plug-and-play solutions are also coming up in the market, providing businesses a low-cost introduction to interactive solutions.”

Role of retail

It is, however, the retail sector that is one of the main driving forces for cutting-edge solutions in the industry, say experts.

“With all the new malls, adventure sports and retail outlets coming up, signage and graphics solutions will be needed for creating the ambiance for these stores and meeting the branding requirements,” says Thomas. “So growth in the sector is directly connected to the growth of the market.”

With rising real estate costs, retail stores are now highly incentivised to elevate the in-store customer experience rather than just use the space as a stocking area for goods.

“Interactive signage has a natural attention-grabbing quality to it, as customers would rather interact and experience content than just be exposed to static media,” says Ummar.

According to Reasearchandmarkets.com, the global digital signage market is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 8.62 per cent from 2018 to 2023, where it’s expected to reach a total market size of $34.7 billion (Dh127.4 billion).

Therefore, as the figures suggest, it is the digital market that will play a pivotal role for the future of the industry.

“Whether it is kiosks or wall screens, digital signage has such an impact on the viewer — it leaves a long-lasting impression and conveys the message in the most effective manner,” says Abdul Rahman Falaknaz, Chairman of International Expo-Consults, organisers of the region’s biggest signage and graphics exhibition, SGI Dubai 2019, which starts today at Dubai World Trade Centre.

Whether it is kiosks or wall screens, digital signage has such an impact on the viewer — it leaves a long-lasting impression and conveys the message in the most effective manner.

- Abdul Rahman Falaknaz, Chairman of International Expo-Consults

“Digital signage uses less power compared to conventional signage and emits less pollution,” he adds. “Digital signage powered by solar panels will be the ultimate achievement for the future.”