Epson research foresees high Middle East demand for technologically enhanced events

Demand will be strong for social events and concerts, especially with immersive technologies, as restrictions are being lifted

New research commissioned by Epson, the leading global projector manufacturer[1], reveals there will be a strong ‘bounce back’ for the events industry as restrictions are being lifted in the Middle East. The research, which was announced at the Theatre of Digital Art (ToDA) in Dubai today, was designed with the assistance of Professor Steven Taylor[2], a leading psychologist and expert in the impact of pandemics on social behaviour – suggesting that the UAE and Saudi Arabia markets will be more inclined to attend social events, such as concerts, visitor attractions and immersive technological experiences.

Epson is the world’s leading manufacturer of projectors with over a third share of the global projector market – and its high lumenlaser projectors have been used to create immersive and interactive experiential environments. The research has helped Epson gauge how the industry was going to respond after the pandemic.

The survey of 4,000 event-loving consumers from 9 countries across EMEA – with 500 respondents from UAE and Saudi Arabia – revealed that 87% are planning to go to the same or a greater number of technologically enhanced events and attractions as restrictions are being lifted – out of which 64% resonated with the sentiment that technologically enhanced events ‘Make Me Happy’ or are ‘Good for My Soul’.

Among Middle East respondents, 75% have missed going to technologically enhanced events and attractions during the lockdown, with Saudi Arabia being the highest with 80% followed by 69% in the UAE. About three quarters (73%) of respondents in the Middle East cannot wait for their life to get back to normal – like in 2019.

“The survey indicates that the overwhelming majority of people are eager to resume their pre-pandemic social lives, which includes attending live experiential events,” Professor Steven Taylor commented. “This underscores the fact that people are resilient and that most will bounce-back to their pre-pandemic levels of socialising, regardless of how they are feeling right now.

“People will want to get out and socialise and this move will happen rapidly. In fact, I’m expecting that there will be a short-lived period of hyper sociability, a kind of mini roaring ’20s as people just bounce back. Live events will play a large role in this.”

Analysis of the findings with the assistance of Professor Steven Taylor also suggests that people may have understated their eagerness to attend live events, and the return to in-person events will be even greater than anticipated. 

As the events industry has been strongly impacted by the pandemic, the most promising result suggests that people would pay a higher price for events if it supported the people impacted by the pandemic within the sector. A high proportion (88%) in both UAE and Saudi Arabia are willing to pay more to attend events if they knew it was supporting people working in the events industry. Amongst those who are prepared to pay more, overall 86% said they would be prepared to pay more for up to 12 months.

Neil Colquhoun, Vice President of CISMEA, Epson Europe, added: “The events industry needs to prepare itself for an unprecedented surge in demand once lockdown ends. It is probable that the bounce back will be even stronger than people might imagine. The research tells us that amongst those consumers who have attended one or more events during the last two years, almost all have missed attending events, are looking forward to going to new events and are planning to go to the same number or more events once lockdown ends.”

“The events industry has suffered badly during lockdown, but this research shows there is light at the end of the tunnel. We can expect a serious party mood post-pandemic and organisers of events and attractions will now be readying themselves to make the most of the surge in demand,” Colquhoun added.

We are happy to announce that the Theatre of Digital Art is using Epson’s state-of-the-art projectors for the ‘Being Van Gogh’ multi-sensory, multi-media immersive exhibition of Van Gogh’s paintings in Souk Madinat Jumeirah.

Gabriel Afrim, General Manager of Theatre of Digital Art (ToDA), said: “As the events scene in Dubai and the Middle East begins to open up post-pandemic, immersive events are key for attracting visitors, and giving them new levels of engagement with art, music, and culture. The Theatre of Digital Arts’ use of Epson projectors in ‘Being Van Gogh’ has delivered high levels of guest satisfaction and repeat visitors, along with striking colour that brings to life Van Gogh’s paintings, and optimised costs and low levels of projector servicing.”

Epson is the world’s leading manufacturer of projectors with over a third share of the global projector market. It specialises in manufacturing compact, versatile, high brightness 3LCD laser projection technology for homes, offices, schools, retailers and for large-scale installations in entertainment venues, museums, galleries, outdoor events and visitor attractions.

Epson high lumen laser projectors are used to create immersive and interactive experiential environments at major venues and visitor attractions across the world. Recent examples of Epson’s AV technology in use include the Electric Forest Music Festival in America, the TeamLab Borderless installation in Shanghai and the international Festival of Lights in Europe.

[1] Epson is the global leading projector manufacturer for both volume and value market share according to data by Futuresource. Epson’s high lumens laser projectors are used extensively across the events industry to create experiential enhanced environments including projection mapping at festivals, live performances, arts and entertainment venues, museums, galleries and visitor attractions.

[2] Professor Steven Taylor is a worldwide authority on the impact of pandemics on human social behaviour. In October 2019 he published a book entitled the Psychology of Pandemics and has given Ted talks on the psychological impact of Covid.

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