Slow Quarter for Western Europe Printer/Copier Market, Severe Decline for Standalone Inkjet Printers

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According to research by market-research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), the Western European printer and copier/MFP market declined 4.9 percent in unit terms compared with the same period a year ago, with negative performances in both inkjet and laser segments. This resulted in a fourth-quarter 2015 market figure of 6.5 million units shipped — a decline of 333,000 units. IDC says this was largely due to the contraction in consumer printing. Revenues increased by 1 percent, but laser devices were largely responsible for the value increase, as inkjet revenues fell by 14.3 percent.

The laser markets were “relatively decent” in fourth-quarter 2015, following the negative trend seen in the previous two quarters in Western Europe. Still, IDC says the combined printer and MFP laser shipments decreased 1 percent in fourth-quarter 2015.

For the first time in almost three years, IDC also says that business-inkjet printer/All-in-One growth “stuttered and remained flat.” However, All-in-One/ MFPs showed the highest growth rate with a 2.7 percent increase, but business-inkjet printers suffered a massive 29-percent decline in fourth-quarter 2015. In fact, according to the market-research firm, business-inkjet MFPs represented 92.1 percent of business-inkjet shipments in fourth-quarter 2015 and this trend is unlikely to be reversed.

Overall, MFP products accounted for 82.1 percent of all shipments in Western Europe in fourth-quarter 2015, higher than the 2015 average of 81 percent. Shipments of laser MFPs remained flat, and inkjet MFPs decreased this quarter, but shipments were generally in line with IDC forecasts.

Growth in the business market, comprising laser and business-inkjet devices, slowed down, but the value decreased by 3.5 percent. The highest-value growth was shown in 45-ppm and faster color segment, a positive trend already observed last quarter, and becoming stronger in fourth-quarter 2015.

“Laser color devices with a 45ppm+ speed are becoming increasingly popular and we have observed higher-volume shipments and double-digit growth in value. For the second consecutive quarter, we have seen a willingness for businesses to invest in higher-speed and color office equipment,” commented Delphine Carnet, senior research analyst in IDC’s Western European Imaging, Hardware Devices, and Document Solutions group. “Newer technologies give the laser market the necessary edge to compete against attractively priced business-inkjet technology.”

Main highlights of IDC’s research include:

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  • The overall Western European hardcopy market declined 4.9 percent year-over-year in fourth-quarter 2015, with the inkjet decline greater than that for laser.
  • Few segments saw any significant growth, with A3 color MFP devices showing the only real laser growth increase in Western Europe.
  • Most color growth was from A3 MFP products, with only color MFP products showing a double-digit increase.
  • Business-inkjet growth stuttered this quarter, despite 2.7 percent growth for MFPs and a staggering 29-percent decrease for printers.
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