Retrofit and healthcare among top growth verticals as countdown begins to a three-day lighting exhibition in Dubai.
UAE-based lighting suppliers and international manufacturers alike have survived, and in some cases thrived, in a pandemic-affected 2020, and now have their sights set on the Middle East’s premier exhibition for lighting, design and technology in Dubai.
When the 15th edition of Light Middle East opens doors from Sept. 28-30, 2021 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, exhibitors from 23 countries will shine the spotlight on how they have pivoted towards growing market opportunities over the last 12 to 18 months.
Local stalwarts including Abensal, Cinmar, Creation Gulf, and Scientechnic, will rub shoulders with the likes of global brands such as Centrsvet, Ledvance, Perdix, Lumenova and Intiled, with all eager to reconnect and re-establish business links in one of the world’s most exciting architectural lighting design and building technology markets.
Light Middle East 2021 will take place with thorough health and safety measures in accordance with official government, local authority guidelines, and the Dubai World Trade Centre venue.
Scientechnic, a flagship company of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, and a major player in the Middle East lighting industry for more than four decades, is among those that adapted quickly to the drastically altered business environment that covid-19 presented.
Samer Moukalled, Vice President of Lighting Solutions at Scientechnic, said the retrofit lighting market, in particular in the residential sector, presented their business with a regular stream of new projects.
“Adaptation is the keyword here (in response to the pandemic), and we actually took this opportunity to expand, both our office space and our team,” said Moukalled.
“One of the major life changes brought about by the ‘new normal’ has been the rise in the ‘work from home’ culture. This has caused an exponential increase in demand for redesigning residential spaces with ‘home offices’ that require a re-evaluation of lighting requirements.”
Moukalled said Covid-19 accelerated the adoption and testing of new lighting innovations that go beyond illumination: “The eminent slowdown brought forth by the pandemic has given innovators much needed time to come up with creative new uses of light,” he added.
“UV emitting LED’s are now being used for air filtration. Korean giant Samsung has plans to install UV LEDs on up to 20 to 30 per cent of new home appliances, and they are currently investing in research to understand the exact effectiveness of its disinfection properties.
“Full Spectrum Lighting, also known as the ‘Sun Lamp’ is making a major appearance in supermarket isles as it perfectly mimics natural light and enhances the colour of fruit and vegetables. This technology is also being widely used in horticulture and growing crops.”
Abensal and Cinmar are other key UAE lighting distributors that fared well in 2020, with both the retrofit market and private residential lighting projects keeping their books in a healthy state.
Since July 2020, Abensal has been working from its newly kitted office and showroom space in Al Quoz Dubai, and has also been busy in the residential sector: “We have focused more on private projects as some of our commercial and hospitality projects were delayed,” commented Nathalie Abou Jaoude, Managing Partner at Abensal.
“As a result, we have not been very much affected by the pandemic, and our results in 2020 were 20 per cent higher than 2019. While this health crisis generated a lot of challenges, it also created opportunities, particularly in the technology sector.
“Communities around the world moved to remote working and home schooling, while businesses across all industries were forced to innovate and digitally transform on an unprecedented basis to ensure continuity.
“With people sitting at home and working remotely, home schooling, the home itself has become very important. A lot of people invested into renovating their homes, changing their light fittings, to be able to live in a better environment.”
Muammer Sami, Director of Cinmar Lighting Solutions, added the retrofit market in the UAE alone could grow by more than 40 per cent in the coming years in a post-covid world: “A study in 2019 stated the UAE retrofit market was worth around 1.4 billion,” said Sami.
“Around 25 per cent of UAE buildings are eligible for retrofit solutions. After Covid-19, this percentage will increase, and the market could hit $2 billion.”
Sami also pinpointed healthcare and media façade lighting as key growth areas for his business, with the regional supplier, and Light Middle East 2021 Headline Sponsor, keen to display its full portfolio of lighting fixtures, controls, emergency lighting, media façade LEDs, wiring devices, and smart home automation solutions, at the three-day event.