Interest in the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia will help the digital signage market in Eastern Europe recover from a slump last year, contributing to higher overall shipments in 2014 for the entire Europe, Middle, East Africa (EMEA) region, according to a recent Signage and Professional Displays Market Tracker from IHS Technology.
“Shipments of digital signage panels for advertising and information will post a modest increase this year in Eastern Europe after declining 8 percent in 2013,” said Sanju Khatri, director for digital signage and public information displays at IHS. “The Eastern Europe territory was the only area within the EMEA region to suffer a loss in shipment volume last year, compared to the large 18 percent growth in the Middle East-Africa territory, and to a very slight uptick of 0.5 percent in Western Europe.”
With the boost expected from Sochi this year, the digital signage market will experience growth in all three territories in 2014. Eastern Europe will be up by 2 percent, Western Europe by 1 percent, and MEA 12 percent. Overall, the digital signage market in EMEA will grow in 2014 and for the next three years, with total shipments reaching 4.06 million units by 2017. The FIFA World Cup in 2018 will have a similar influence that will be felt by the digital signage industry as the much-anticipated date for the event approaches.
Eastern Europe on the whole has been more hesitant to invest in new signage technologies, finding venture costs in the region and operation to be expensive. But the massive exposure that can be expected from the Winter Olympics in Russia will help propel growth in the supply of hospitality services.
“Digital signage prospects are generally more promising in Western Europe, with uninterrupted growth from 2012 to 2017 and especially vigorous in the retail and public space sectors,” according to Hicham Zoultaoui, digital signage analyst at IHS. “In fact, Western Europe accounts for the bulk of the digital signage market in EMEA, making up more than 77 percent of total panel shipments in 2013. The gradual financial recovery of the Eurozone, which claims a large number of Western European member countries, will help digital signage gain additional traction this year.��
Meanwhile, the Middle East-Africa territory will enjoy significantly greater growth than either Eastern or Western Europe during the same five-year period. At the end of 2017, digital signage shipments in MEA will be up 61 percent from 2012 levels, compared to a mere 3 percent uptick in Eastern Europe and a 4 percent increase in Western Europe.
The education sector is the main focus of digital signage in the Middle East and Africa, especially in the Arabian Gulf states of Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Hospitality and government and corporate applications of digital signage also show healthy activity, contributing to the overall spread of displays across the industry.