Managed Print Services eating into printer market

A decided slump in the overall printer market in the region of India is what the ‘India Printer, Copier and MFP Unit Shipment Estimates’ by Gartner points to. Could this trend reach Canada?The first quarter of 2012 throws up a 13.5 per cent decline in the page printer market and a 3.3 percent decline in the inkjet printers market in compared to the first quarter of 2011. If Gartner is to be believed, Managed Print Services is the main culprit.

Managed Print Services appears to have taken over the Indian printer market. Gartner opines that evolution of Managed Print Services is the most responsible factor for the decline in printer shipments, which, it anticipates, will continue in future as well.

“MPS is a good as well as a bad thing for printer market. Through MPS, one can consolidate many printers. Earlier, if there were 10 to 20 printers in an organization, then these are and will be replaced now by one or two printers doing the same amount of work. So the number of printers and multi functions devices (MFDs) will drop down,” Amrita Choudhary, research analyst at Gartner said.

The advancement of electronic media such as smartphones and tablets as a means of communication has also contributed to the decline of printer shipments but the printer will not fade off. However, the demand for printers will definitely come down, according to Gartner.

The research firm also believes that there is very little scope for new entrants in this already shrinking printer market. “I do not think there will be any scope to the new players to enter in the market because HP has already covered more than the 50 per cent of the market. There are quite a few printer players in India and I would not say that there would be any new player at the moment,” said Choudhary at Gartner.

While the technology and market continues to evolve, printers are not yet out of the reckoning. There is a strong swing towards services. “There is a shift happening in the market, it is not only about selling boxes anymore. But vendors are keen about the service aspect of it,” the Gartner analyst added.

The figures compel the OEMs and channel partners to take a long hard look at their current strategies. Whether they want to stick to just selling boxes, concentrate further on the services, or work on amalgamating hardware, software, and services is a call they would have to take, and take soon.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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