Smart surfaces to drive GCC market

Driven by urban development across all sectors – predominantly residential, office, hospitality and retail – the demand for wall and floor surfaces runs parallel with the ambitions of the leading GCC nations, which will host a number of global events in the upcoming years.

A report by analysts BNC – prepared exclusively for the recently held Middle East Covering event – reveals that widespread new build and renovation projects throughout the region will lead to growth of more than 5% per year across the flooring market. It also states that the regional flooring market is set for a decade of strong growth – culminating in an annual value of US$10bn by 2026.

“With 20,885 construction projects ongoing in the GCC, the demand for the likes of carpets, rugs, tile, vinyl, rubber, wood and laminates is already being felt across the flooring industry,” says Yan Wang, event director at Middle East Covering.

BNC research further states that the UAE is leading the way in the GCC flooring boom, with almost 9,000 projects already underway. That has been attributed to rising tourist numbers and the push towards Dubai Expo 2020.

“As construction in the region flourishes to meet the requirements of Expo 2020, we are seeing an increasing demand for decorative flooring,” says Stephen Dando, commercial flooring manager at BASF.

German-based BASF made its debut at the Middle East Covering exhibition with its latest decorative and performance floors by Master Builders Solutions. Recently, the company applied its flooring systems to NAS Sports Arena, Dubai’s Motiongate, Abu Dhabi’s Midfield Terminal, Muscat Airport, the Dubai Frame and the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

“One of the biggest challenges is introducing innovative solutions that have not previously been installed in the region,” says Dando, adding that comfort and decorative floors are rising in popularity, especially in hospitals and schools where designers are looking “for more creative and hygienic floor systems in place of conventional finishes”.

“Decorative, seamless, durable, hygiene, comfort and acoustic properties are becoming the most decisive factors when floors are chosen,” he says.

Expanding its business across the GCC and a wider region, Sharjah-based wood and decorative paint manufacturer, MAS Paints Group, saw strong growth this year.

“Our market in the UAE is linked to new emerging markets worldwide, especially in East Africa, South East Asia and the ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] community. We saw significant growth throughout these areas,” says Abdullah Al Atrash, managing director at MAS Paints Group. “Locally, the number of projects in Dubai grows daily, and work remains consistent with many returning clients that we have worked with over the years.”

Last year, the GCC total flooring products market was estimated at 775 million square metres, according to Frost & Sullivan. In its whitepaper “Flooring Products Market in the GCC”, prepared ahead of the Middle East Coverings exhibition, the market research analysts state that tiles account for a share of 77.4% of the total flooring products market in the GCC, followed by stones, wood and laminates, carpets, rubber, epoxy, linoleum, vinyl and luxury vinyl tiles (LVT).

Accounting for 3% of the total flooring products market, wood and laminates was valued at 24 million square metres in 2016.

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