The GCC interiors and fit-out sector is poised for solid growth over the coming years with the market set to hit $5.2 billion by 2025, mainly due to the population boom, rising urbanisation and growing construction and real estate sectors, said a report released ahead of Index 2023 expo in Dubai.
A leading event for the interior design, fitout and construction sectors, Index 2023 will see top firms explore the future of the multi-billion-dollar interiors and fit-out market during its run from May 23 to 25. 
The regional interiors and fit-out sector is expected to grow 5% annually over the next five years. The forecast comes in the latest Index: Business of Interiors commercial outlook report produced by dmg events, organiser of the three-day exhibition. 
The outlook reveals a bullish forecast for the GCC sector, thanks to the region's increasing population, rising urbanisation and growing construction and real estate sectors, as well as a demand for sustainable and eco-friendly designs that are driving innovation in the industry.
The UAE is the largest market for interior design in the GCC region, followed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, stated an expert. 
"There are exciting times ahead for interior design services in the GCC," remarked Elaine O’Connell, the Vice President of Design & Hospitality at dmg events. 
"Our outlook report has also identified some major challenges faced by the sector, including a flight to sustainability, digital transformation and e-commerce growth which will be addressed by sector pioneers at the event in May, and that's why we build exploratory knowledge features into the Index profile," noted O’Connell. 
Also taking place at the show is the Index Design Talks, a series of open and lively discussions amongst many leading design figures, including inspiring interior designers, renowned regional architects and prominent creative thinkers who will debate the latest trends and innovations. More than 17,500 professionals are expected to convene at the three-day event. 
"Index is more than just an exhibition. It offers knowledge for the transformation of built spaces, now and in the future. It is a destination event that showcases the newsiest, best and broadest range of global products, design and technology, under one roof," noted O’Connell. 
"We will also champion the region as a home for manufacturers, Middle Eastern designs, Emirati designers, forward-thinking Giga projects, innovative hospitality projects and interior design," he added.
Index is a design showcase covering the entire industry ecosystem, with dedicated exhibition segments for outdoor furniture, interior fit-out, decorative lighting and accessories, furniture, furnishing and textiles, surfaces and flooring, kitchens and bathrooms, bedrooms, and art. 
Some of the confirmed leading global brands include emerging manufacturers and regional distributors such as Sanipex, Pan Emirates, Ligne Roset, Floorworld, Al Mina Marble and Gautier.
Esra Lemmens, the Founder of The Esra Lemmens Agency and Chairperson of Design Talks, said: "UAE is an international playground with renowned brands in IT, fashion, and lifestyle, but also with strong historical roots and a progressive, modern outlook and the Design Talks conference hosted at Index is the perfect spot to educate and interact with like-minded people from the interior design industry."
"My ambition is to build relationships that would reflect this perception of our nation and its thriving creative sector," he noted.
The industry challenges and opportunities will be explored further via cutting-edge insights from experts in the Retail Leadership Forum. 
"The forum is a dedicated conference for senior retail buyers and leaders who seek dedicated intelligence and critical discussion," explained O’Connell. 
"With an increasing volume of retail buyers attending the show, it’s time to feed the demand for knowledge at a critical time for commerce. Retail leaders and buyers will find out the latest in consumer trends, logistics strategy and detailed procurement techniques," he added.
A key highlight at the expo this year will be the inauguraal edition of ‘Index Student Competition’, a country-wide University Challenge aimed at supporting the future generation of architects and designers, revealed O’Connell.
Also co-located alongside Index and Workspace will be The Hotel Show and Leisure Show making a powerful quartet of influential design-driven events that will span the entire interiors ecosystem, helping attendees connect with individuals from the full spectrum of their businesses. 
"The shows running alongside each other form a powerful quartet of information, products, services and supplies that inform the wider hospitality and leisure sectors, meaning visitors can maximise their time and exhibitors can network and unearth new opportunities for partnerships and collaboration," he added.