Learnings from GITEX 2015
What is GITEX?
Launched in 1981, GITEX is the ICT business gateway to the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia Region. Focused on providing exhibitors with high ROI through direct business opportunities with decision makers, GITEX has maintained its position as the industry’s trend setting authority. GITEX continually identifies the hottest global IT trends and incubates these into the event either as new sectors or conference programs. The sectorization of GITEX has enabled new companies to participate in identified trends as well as giving visitors the opportunity to engage, learn and implement the advances in the industry. GITEX’s role in the ICT industry is pivotal for the re-export market. It is an annual international trading hub for the global technology sector. GITEX acts as both, an inbound sourcing platform for the entire Middle East region and the eminent source for anyone interested in doing business in the region.
Key Market Trends in the Middle East
- With over 2.2 billion smartphone users worldwide, the mobile market easily outnumbers the broadband internet market. This, combined with advances in smartphone technology, means the mobile device is the future of all advertising. As device manufacturers provide handsets with embedded applications such as Facebook and You Tube, the groundwork has been laid for greater UGC (user generated content) and as such, it will become the ultimate advertising platform that will reside in people’s pockets, no matter where they are or when they access their phones.
- The Net Generation in the Middle East: Born after 1977, the Middle East presents a unique swathe of Net Generation users, for whom all things digital come as second nature and who therefore embrace technological advances and who are prepared to spend higher than average proportions of their income on media and content consumption.
- Traditional media (print) still plays an important role in the Middle East due to the established newspaper reading culture.
- Literacy plays an important role and has a direct impact on traditional printed media and there are wide differences from country to country in the region. For example in Morocco and Yemen the average literacy level is around 50%, compared to 90% in Kuwait, UAE and Qatar. This results in disparities from country to country where literacy levels are low and visual mediums such as TV have a higher importance attached to it, compared to print media.
- Broadband penetration – low and slow broadband penetration remain major constraints to the wholesale adoption of modern media methods and again vary from country to country. Typical barriers to improvement in this sector include cultural barriers, high retail pricing and poor telecommunications access network infrastructures.
- Despite the high costs of implementing and developing telecommunications access network infrastructures across large geographical areas, the mobile phone is rapidly emerging as a rival means to broadband access and internet content delivery and is increasingly providing an alternative way of watching TV on the go via IPTV technology.
- Broadband penetration in the Middle East will grow strongly, supporting social network growth and e-commerce development.
- Tablet adoption will rise quickly in the region as multiple devices enter the market, creating new content opportunities.
- Facebook will open up new opportunities for Arabic language marketing.
- The swelling numbers of consumers online across MENA will force more consumer brands, retailers and consumer service companies to embrace digital.
- The Arab world’s online shopping market will become broader-based, providing consumers with new choice and web ventures with new opportunities.
- Online Arabic language content will remain an issue of concern for the region, but opportunities for Arabic content will continue to grow, perhaps faster than ever before.
- Independent online media launches will continue, whilst traditional media continue to procrastinate about online.
- A new generation of specialized blogs will emerge in the Middle East
- We will see more social change and social initiatives driven by online media, with people finding new ways to work together to achieve community objectives.
Top 5 Tech Trends from the GITEX Shopper
1 Multi-device lifestyles: Mobile devices are becoming an indispensable part of everyday life both at home and at work, as our world becomes increasingly digitized and connected. It is now commonplace for people to not only own more than one device, but also to use more than one device simultaneously, such as browsing social media on a smartphone while watching TV.
2 Wearable Tech: The wearable technology market is gaining traction with everything from fitness and health related products to smart watches and audio-wearable tech. These products are becoming increasingly complex, able to provide significant levels of information and contribute to quality of life – whether convenience, time management, enjoyment, or critical health monitoring.
3 Mobile Commerce: The growth of mCommerce is changing the way consumers purchase goods and services, with the use of handheld devices such as smartphones and laptops leading to a surge in both markets.
4 Social photography: With one out of every four people around the world now regularly accessing social media, social photography is driving demand for smartphones, tablets and digital cameras. While smartphones and tablets provide the fastest sharing option of moments, digital cameras offers the highest quality pictures which can now also be shared thanks to new technology such as inbuilt Wi-Fi.
5 Interconnectivity: As homes get smarter, the tech industry continuously produces devices capable of “communicating” with each other, such as TVs, smartphones, computers and refrigerators which are revolutionizing the way we live our lives.