Printer, Copier/MFP Markets Continue to Grow in Developing Economies

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Despite new research from market-research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) that growth in the worldwide hardcopy(HCP) peripherals had slowed in 2018’s fourth quarter (see here), in many developing economies, the good news is that the HCP market continues to grow.

(Note that in its research, IDC tracks A2, A3 and A4 devices; hardcopy peripherals include single-function printers and MFPs, for both office-based and production segments.)

Middle-East and Africa

The overall Middle-East, Turkey, and Africa (META) HCP market posted robust year-over-year growth in terms of both units and value in 2018, according to the latest insights from IDC. IDC’s Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker shows that 5.44 million units were shipped in the region in 2018 for a total value of $1.74 billion, up 8.0 percent and 6.4 percent, respectively, year-over-year.

African markets showed the highest growth rates, with Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa all experiencing double-digit year-over-year growth in terms of both units and value. IDC says that this strong growth was primarily driven by a recovery in natural-resource prices (including oil, platinum, and gold) in 2018, particularly during the first half of the year.

“While digitalization initiatives across META continue to gather pace, demand for paper-based documents remains strong in the region,” commented Roberto Alunni, IDC’s senior research manager for imaging, printing, and document solutions in META. “That’s because the use of paper remains necessary in many workflows and business processes, including invoices, legal contracts, and other documents. Indeed, an IDC survey of 391 end-user organizations conducted across the region in 2018 showed that just under half of them still prefer to use paper documents/signatures or a mix of paper and digital documents, rather than relying solely on electronic means to communicate with and report to public authorities.”

The META region includes: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as other countries

Laser shipments in the META region increased 8.9 percent year-over-year in 2018 to a total of 2.4 million units, with their value rising 4.8 percent over the same period to reach $1.40 billion. The fastest growth in the laser segment was seen in Algeria, Egypt, and Nigeria, while the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) also posted robust growth. A notable exception to this trend was Turkey, which suffered a year-over-year decline in units and value as a result of the country’s August currency crisis.

New technologies introduced by inkjet vendors aimed at increasing print speeds and reducing cost per page are also said to have led to renewed interest in both the home and business markets. Inkjet shipments across META increased 7.1 percent year-over-year in 2018 to reach 2.92 million units, while their value increased at almost twice the rate, up 12.1 percent to $298.28 million.

“The increased adoption of ink-tank devices across the META region continues to drive the total value of the inkjet market,” said Alunni. “While ink-tank devices require a higher upfront cost to purchase the hardware, the ink refills are much cheaper for the end-user.”

Serial dot matrix (SDM) shipments increased significantly in 2018, reaching 125,749 units worth $47.8 million, up 10.6 percent and 18.9 percent, respectively, year-over-year. The introduction of a VAT (value-added tax) in GCC countries at the beginning of 2018 led to a rise in demand for these devices, due to the requirement for businesses to print and store invoices.

For more information on IDC’s Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker, contact Sheila Manek at smanek@idc.com.

‘Soaring’ Market for Printers and Copier/MFPs in India

IDC also recently published new research indicating that the India HCP market posted yearly shipments of 3.7 million units in 2018, registering year-over-year growth of 5.5 percent. In fourth-quarter 2018, the market posted shipments of approximately 0.85 million units, a year-over-year decline of 2.6 percent, as per latest IDC Asia/Pacific Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker , CY2018Q4. However, IDC noted that the months following India’s “festive season” usually result in lower online sales, but that fourth-quarter did see an unusually low demand from the consumer end, a stark contrast with the overall 2018 trend.

Full-Year Highlights

Despite lower fourth-quarter results in India, results were strong for India’s full year:

“The annual growth was led by inkjet printers, specifically ink-tank printers, which grew by 21.4 percent and now command 68.4 percent of the overall Inkjet market in India. The online sales during third-quarter 2018 played a significant role in catering to the increased demand from the consumer and SMB segment. The year ended with the inkjet market commanding more than half of the HCP market followed closely by laser,” commented Bani Johri, market analyst for IDC IPDS India.

“The laser market also expanded by 3.7 percent on the back of strong demand from SMBs and government’s tight monitoring of the refurbished copier market. Government’s increased seizing of illegal units at major ports has given the market players ample opportunities to expand their customer base by targeting the users of these machines with attractive pricing schemes,” added Johri.

Fourth-Quarter Highlights

Inkjet-printer shipments grew by 2.9 percent year-over-year, with a contribution of 50.0 percent to the overall India HCP market. Growth in inkjet-printer shipments was led by ink-tank printers, which recorded year-over-year growth of 10.5 percent. The overall laser-printer market declined year-over-year by 4.8 percent. However, the laser-copier market continued the growth momentum and registered a healthy year-over-year growth of 28.2 percent.

IDC says the market performed much-below expectations in fourth-quarter 2018 because of a combination of factors such as excess inventory being carried forward from third-quarter 2018, owing to a drop in “festive buying from consumers,” aggravated further by channel-partner issues across the country. Demand from SOHOs/SMEs was also reduced because of restricted lending to this segment from banks. Government spending has also slowed down considerably in anticipation of the upcoming elections.

Overall HCP Market:

Top-Three Brand Highlights

HP Inc. (excluding Samsung) maintained its leadership in the 2018 Indian HCP market, with a market share of 40.2 percent and a marginal year-over-year shipment decline of 0.6 percent. While the inkjet segment slowed down because of a decline in ink-cartridge-based printer shipments, the laser segment compensated for the same. HP experienced “good traction” for entry-level A4 laser printers due to extensive promotions and multiple projects.

HP saw a boom in copier sales last year in India – IDC noted that “On the copier side, HP grew significantly in 2018 with a shipment growth of 202 percent and a market share of 11.4 percent.”

Epson maintained its second position in the overall HCP market in India in 2018 with 15.0 percent year-over-year growth, and it also continued to hold its leadership in the inkjet segment with a unit share of 45.1 percent and year-over-year growth of 18.7 percent. IDC attributes Epson’s growth primarily attributed to its channel depth and multiple channel schemes in the first half of the year. Increased promotional activities for Epson’s new ink-tank models also contributed to its growth.

Canon recorded year-over-year growth of 12.8 percent in 2018 and maintained its third position in the HCP market in India. In the copier segment, it maintained its leadership position with a 29.1 percent unit market share. The Indian government’s strict regulations on the refurbished market coupled with Canon’s increased focus on the corporate segment are said to have helped it to maintain its dominance in the copier market.

In the inkjet market, Canon saw strong year-over-year growth of 39.7 percent because of its increased focus on the ink-tank segment “through attractive channel schemes, end-user promotions, and increased promotional campaigns.”

IDC India Market Outlook

According to Nishant Bansal, research manager, for IDC India IPDS and PC: “IDC expects the overall HCP market to decline in first-quarter 2019 due to weak consumer and SMB sentiment. While (the) overall inkjet market is expected to decline, ink-tank printers are likely to be the only bright spot in first-quarter 2019, as vendors continue pushing them aggressively. Moreover, the government segment is likely to withhold on spending before the general elections leading to decline in demand for laser printers. Despite decline in government spending, demand for laser copiers is expected to remain steady owing to continued crackdown of refurbished copier market by government.”

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