Digital signage is evolving, remaining no longer a mere option but becoming more of a necessity as technology advances and the industry unveils innovative offerings. Globally, the digital signage market size is set to exceed USD 23 billion by 2023; according to a research report by Global Market Insights. The unprecedented development in digital media has spurred the growth of digital signage as we see it rapidly expanding in various ways. Digital signage has advanced to interactive displays that engage target audience through various means, including the increasing influence of social media and its capability to feed news in real-time.
According to a report by InfoComm International, a global audiovisual trade association, digital signage is growing rapidly in adoption and is past the early adopter phase with maximum exposure in places including malls, government offices and schools.
The Middle East is one of the most exciting places to see the growth of the digital signage market because of the huge amount of upcoming projects and developments in the region. Outdoor advertising is also gaining viral popularity across the UAE, especially because international as well as local brands are inclined towards using this platform for promoting consumer-driven products. Touchscreen technologies and near field communications have provided an impetus to the Middle East market and with extensive utilization of these features across a range of industries, digital signage is poised for a spiral growth and bright future.
“The regional digital signage market is expected to grow rapidly in the next three years. This tremendous growth is primarily due to the rise in retail, travel and tourism and hospitality industries in the region. UAE occupies the top spot in the Arab world as far as advertising spending in the local markets is concerned,” explained Manish Bakshi, Managing Director at BenQ Middle East & Turkey.
Adding to the reasons for increasing demand for digital signage in the regional market, Binoj Nair, Senior Marketing Manager, B2C Marketing & Direct Sales at Canon said that upcoming mega events in the country, like World Expo 2020 in Dubai, are expected to have a positive impact on the digital signage market in the region. “With digital signage being increasingly used for brand building and increasing product visibility to gain competitive edge, the market has been witnessing growing interest by companies operating in diverse sectors,” he added.
Growth in the market is anticipated also due to the rising adoption of digital signage in the retail, public infrastructure, transportation and hospitality sectors coupled with technological advancements in display screens. A recent report by Alpen Capital attributes the continued escalation of the regional market to strong tourism growth, new and expanded malls and theme parks, and mega-events such as World Expo 2020 and 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar.
Software AG Vice President, Gulf & Levant region, Rami Kichli stresses that opportunities with digital signage exist in key sectors that have wider markets like in retail, travel, tourism and hospitality sectors. Talking about the opportunities such growth avenues present to digital technology providers, he added, “Marketing departments also need to incorporate digital signage into their core strategies given the huge potential it presents in capturing their markets,” added Kichli.
However, Bakshi feels that in this region retail segment takes the lion’s share in revenue for digital signage market. Commenting on the reason for such a claim, he said, “The surge in retail sale has been tremendous in the past few years and it is only growing further resulting in an extraordinary increase in the number of retails stores. As more and more retail stores open, the demand for digital signage also increases since on an average, each retail store requires 4-5 panels so one can do the math. The more others sell, the more we sell,” he added.
For achieving success in the market, customer behaviour has become one of the strongest customer acquisition tools and therefore, partners need to work closely with their customers, says Bakshi. “Meeting customer expectations and striving to exceed them has become essential due to the constant availability of choice that every customer is equipped with. These things result in a considerable increase in lead generation which will eventually help both the parties get opportunities to increase their reach.”
Sharing the sentiment, Canon adds that customers are now looking for relationships that are more than transactional. “For companies, success is now defined by how consultative partners can offer creative solutions to business challenges,” stated Nair. “With key trends such as touch functionality, IoT, Smart Technology and wireless services gaining popularity, channel partners will have to invest more in pre-sales activities to generate sustained demand. There is a need to provide a holistic solution to business challenges, rather than just delivering products and services and therefore have shifted from a ‘one size fits all’ approach to one that is based on tailored sales, channel and service delivery models.”
The pace at which the internet of things (IoT) is evolving, we will soon see interaction between digital signage and consumer behaviour. For example, smart shopping will enable brands and retailers to understand a customer’s tastes and preferences the moment he/she enters the stores. “We have seen a monumental and consistent continuous growth in the digital signage industry in the past 3-4 years. The education sector is already reaping the benefits of the technological advancements in digital signage, students being the biggest beneficiaries,” explained Bakshi.
Digital signage has the advantage to connect to smart devices, embed touch screen options and motion detection technologies, among others. Therefore, such capabilities are opening up the sector to serve a wide spectrum of industries to connect them to their target audience through interactive advertising while being cost-effective and hassle-free maintenance. Further to this, as technology advancements like emergence of 3D digital signage and cloud based digital signage drive the digital signage the channel needs to capitalize on the trends and opportunities available while continuing to introduce new, next-generation technologies across the MENA markets.