In 2016 when Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, HRH Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, first revealed Vision 2030 – a bold new direction for the country – the GCC and the world at large speculated on what this might bring. Three years since, the kingdom has made considerable progress by focusing on economic diversification in a bid to reduce dependence on petrodollars. Large-scale infrastructure projects across healthcare, transportation, education, recreation, and tourism were announced, and many are underway. This has had a positive knock-on effect on the country’s construction market, the largest in the GCC.
Construction projects worth $1.1tn are at various stages of development in Saudi Arabia, according to the ProTenders statistics for 2019. These include ambitious megaprojects like Neom, King Abdullah Economic City, expansion of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, and Riyadh Metro. Major reforms, such as opening of the entertainment and cinema market in the country, are driving the demand for shopping malls, retail, and real estate. UAE-based Majid Al Futtaim has already embarked on its biggest investment and plans to open no fewer than 600 Vox Cinema screens across the kingdom in the next five years.
Opening up of the market has also spurred changes in urban demographics. Previously unseen trends, such as multistoried residential units, are springing up in Jeddah as Saudi starts to become more appealing for the new generation to live and work.
Propelled by Vision 2030, spending in the construction industry is expected to stay strong for the next few years. This subsequently has a significant impact on the demand for exterior and interior surfaces.
This positive outlook is encouraging several global surfaces companies including Cosentino to spread roots in Saudi Arabia. Since 2016, we have had a distributor presence in Al Khobar. Over the next two years the company is going full throttle by expanding to Riyadh and Jeddah and investing in a dedicated team available to service these markets. Other local and international players in the surfaces market are also following suit.
Construction-focused trade fairs also provide a good indication of how the boom has aroused global interest in the kingdom. International brands from countries including Germany, Spain, Portugal, and Italy have, for instance, showcased for the first time at the Stone & Surface Saudi trade show this year.
While availability and choice of surfaces may have been limited in the past, with this growing influx of companies in the surfaces industry, more options are now available to architects, interior designers, and developers without having to travel outside Saudi to source from other parts of the world.
Opening up of the market also means that Saudi-based industry professionals will get more exposure and easier access to global design trends, insights, and best practices. This in turn will foster cutting-edge design and creativity as the Saudi’s construction and design industry matures. The kingdom is undoubtedly poised for massive growth over the next few years, and everyone stands to benefit from riding this wave.