Printer Sales Down Six Percent in Western Europe

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According to London-based IT market-research firm Context, sales of printer hardware through distributors in Western Europe during early first-quarter 2018 continued to follow the trend set during fourth-quarter 2017, and declined by 6 percent year-over-year, according to the latest distribution data published by Context.

Inkjet multifunction printers (MFPs), which account for over 60 percent of sales in Western Europe, also fell by 6 percent during early first-quarter 2018 (weeks 1-11), and hence were the main driver for the overall change. Laser MFPs were the only category that registered a year-over-year increase in sales. Although this was small, Context says it does reflect the ongoing shift from single-function to multifunction devices: the positive performance of this category was led by A4 color laser MFPs and A3 laser MFPs.

Revenue generated from Western European distributor sales was up versus that of the previous quarter, thanks to rising ASPs (asking selling prices) for inkjet devices, but it was still down by 3 percent year-over-year in early first-quarter 2018. The ASPs for laser hardware continued to fall during this quarter.

While distributors in most Western European countries saw unit sales decline, there were exceptions. In France, there was an increase of 5 percent year-over-year because particularly strong consumer-inkjet sales offset the weak performance of laser hardware. Sales in the United Kingdom also grew during early first-quarter 2018. Following a flat performance in fourth-quarter 2017, distributors in Spain saw a sharp fall in sales of consumer inkjets, which led to an overall decline of 11 percent year-over-year.

Samsung’s share of the laser market improved by 2.5 percentage points, and it now holds the third-largest market share in this sub-category (Note that Samsung’s printer business is now a part of HP Inc.). HP Inc. saw a corresponding decline of 1 percentage point year-over-year, but continues to hold the largest market share, followed by Brother International. HP also registered a very strong increase in market share for A3 business inkjets following HP Inc.’s acquisition of Samsung’s printer  business early in fourth-quarter 2017.

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