Packaging Industry Outlook in the UAE: Market Size, Key Trends, Drivers and Challenges to 2016

Packaging Industry Outlook in the UAE: Market Size, Key Trends, Drivers and Challenges to 2016

Executive Summary

The UAE packaging industry posted moderate growth during the review period and is expected to record similar level of growth over the forecast period. The growth is largely attributed to the country’s growing domestic consumption and diversified exports market. The country’s GDP per capita exceeded US$50,000 in 2009, and is projected to reach US$80,084 in 2016. This implies there will be more spending on processed food and consumer durable goods during the forecast period, which will propel the growth of packaging industry.  Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, registered the highest GDP per capita in the world, contributes substantially to the country’s spending power, which is also being supported by the country’s improved consumer confidence and favorable economic environment. Paper and board is the largest packaging category in the UAE packaging industry. Food and beverages is the key end-user market accounting for more than half of the consumption of packaging products in 2011. The UAE packaging industry relies heavily on exporting to foreign countries, and the long-term sustainability of the industry is linked to the international demand for UAE packaging products. The main reason for the country’s heavy reliance on exports is the UAE’s small domestic market and low population. The UAE government’s tough environmental regulations have raised concerns from the country’s plastic packaging businesses. The government already banned the use of plastic bags in some areas of the country, and a more complete and comprehensive ban will be enforced by the end of 2013. The ban is expected to cause a decline in consumption of flexible plastics. The UAE has implemented one of the most liberal economic policies in the Middle East. Foreign companies that plan to enter the UAE packaging industry have a wide range of options including joint ventures, establishing a wholly owned company in free trade zones (FTZs), setting up branch offices in non-FTZs, appointing sales agents or distributors, and entering into license agreements and technological collaborations.

Key highlights of this title

  • The UAE packaging industry registered strong growth during the review period, to become the fourth-fastest-growing packaging industry in the MENA region
  • The packaging industry valued US$1.84 billion in 2011, and grew at a CAGR of 4.27% during the review period
  • The industry is projected to grow at a CAGR of 4.68% during the forecast period, to reach US$2.30 billion in 2016
  • Annual consumer expenditure on food in the UAE was US$23.3 billion in 2011, and grew at a CAGR of 14.52% during the review period. The annual consumer expenditure on food is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.12% during the forecast period, to reach a value of US$33.7 billion in 2016. The UAE is a largest consumer of ready-made foods, which are supplied to consumers in packaging. This is expected to stimulate the demand for packaging products in the country.
  • Food and beverages is the leading end-user market for the packaging industry, after generating 55% of the market value in 2011.
  • The UAE has emerged as a prime market for re-exports of products that are imported from neighboring nations to developed markets such as the US and Europe. The country’s trade agreements with developed nations and geographical proximity to Europe are driving this activity.


This report provides a comprehensive analysis of the packaging industry in the UAE:

  • It provides historical values for the UAE’s packaging industry for the report’s 2007–2011 review period and forecast figures for the 2012–2016 forecast period
  • It offers a detailed analysis of the key categories in the UAE’s packaging industry, along with market forecasts until 2016
  • It details the different macroeconomic factors affecting the packaging industry in the UAE
  • It covers an exhaustive summary on the key trends and drivers affecting the end-user markets in packaging
  • Using Porter’s industry-standard “Five Forces” analysis, it details the competitive landscape in the UAE for the packaging industry
  • It outlines current regulatory framework in the industry

Reasons to Purchase

  • Gain insights into the raw material supplier, manufacturing and end-user demand dynamics in the UAE packaging industry
  • Identify the key market trends and opportunities for both existing companies and prospective new market entrants
  • Assess the industry structure and competitive landscape in the UAE packaging products manufacturing and end-user sectors, enabling the formulation of effective market-entry strategies
  • Assess the growth opportunities and industry dynamics within five key packaging categories: paper and board packaging, flexible plastic packaging, rigid plastic packaging, metal packaging and glass packaging
  • Analyse the product innovation and marketing strategies happening in the market and the future outlook

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