Printer market makes a turn in the wrong direction

Is this the beginning of the end of the printer as we know it?

According to recently reporting figures from IDC, the worldwide hardcopy peripherals market declined for the first time in the past three quarters to 25.5 million units shipped in the second quarter of 2014 resulting in a negative 2.3 per cent year-over-year decrease.

Some striking changes in terms of marketshare happened this quarter. The first is Samsung overtaking HP as the laser market leader in Western Europe. The Western European market has solid growth at five per cent. IDC found that Samsung is strong in the low-end, and tends to market its products on price. It also has strong operations in Germany and Italy where it performs particularly well. In addition, distributors and dealers tend to trade HP and Samsung off with each other and sales fluctuate as a result.Also three of the top five vendors (Epson, Samsung, and Brother) enjoyed positive year-over-year growth. Both Epson’s and Brother’s growth were driven largely by gains in AsiaPac.

Asia/Pacific (not including Japan) showed some positive year-over-year gains but only at 0.4 per cent. The sliver of growth in AsiaPac was driven by China, which represents nearly half of the region’s shipments. This was also the fifth consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth for the region.

“While the overall hardcopy market is mature and we often point to emerging markets as the growth areas, it is important to note that there are still areas of growth and opportunity in more mature markets. Vendors should keep in mind that while pursuing growth in new geographies they need to defend their positions in high-value segments of mature regions, such as color laser multifunction printers (MFP) and the A4 monochrome laser midmarket,” said Phuong Hang, program director for IDC Worldwide Hardcopy Peripheral trackers.

Inkjet still makes up the majority of the market (59.7 per cent), but the best market growth is in laser. Colour laser grew 10.3 per cent to close to two million units in the second quarter of 2014.

The single function printer market declined by negative 7.7 per cent year over year in the second quarter of 2014, while MFP shipments experienced flat growth. However, MFPs enjoyed strong growth in all colour laser speed ranges, especially in 1-10 page per minute (ppm) (31.5 per cent).

Monochrome to color: Colour increased its overall market share to 19 per cent compared to a year ago while monochrome printers lost two points of share, dropping to 81 per cent of the overall market in the second quarter of 2014. Year-over-year growth for colour was 10.3 per cent while mono laser was at negative three per cent. The strongest colour speed segment was the 45-69 ppm (17.5 per cent), where Ricoh did particularly well with the MP C4503 model line.

HP did get some good news. The move to faster speed segments did increase in the second quarter. The 45-69 ppm monochrome laser MFP segment exhibited the strongest year-over-year growth in Q2 at 15.7 per cent, followed by 31-44 ppm (7.8 per cent). The 31-44 ppm segment’s strong growth was fueled by HP’s LaserJet Pro 400 series. In the colour market, the 21-30 ppm MFP segment did well at 12.9 per cent year-over-year growth, followed by 45-69 ppm at 8.3 per cent and 70-90 ppm at 4.5 per cent.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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