This Week in Imaging: Office Copier/MFP Revenue Growth Sluggish for Most
This week, we saw a host of office-imaging companies based in Japan report results for their fiscal years that ended on March 31, 2019. As was the case with U.S.-based Xerox a few week ago, in general, revenue fell or was flat year-over-year, while earnings increased year-over-year. This was true for Ricoh, Sharp, Epson, and Brother.
For Sharp net revenue and operating income for its office copier/MFPs was virtually flat, while for Ricoh copier/MFP sales were down 5.0 percent year-over-year. Ricoh’s copier/MFP group however did post operating profit – but that was versus the previous year’s ¥135 billion ($1.72 billion U.S.) loss involving declining business in North America.
The exception was OKI, which reported that net sales were up 3.5 percent year-over-year. However, net sales for OKI’s printer group were down. But, as with other vendors, this was offset by cost-cutting, so that operating income for the OKI printer group was actually up 3.0 percent year-over-year.
Another exception was Kyocera, which last month reported higher year-over-year revenue and earnings increases. But again, revenue for Kyocera’s office copier/MFP group was relatively flat, increasing just 1.1 percent year-over-year.
Full-year revenue for Canon Inc. (whose fiscal year ended on December 31, 2018) was also down, with office copier/MFP revenue only up 0.1 percent.
Virtually all cited cost-cutting as behind improvements in earnings, and all continued to signal their intentions to diversify. OKI, for instance,has been diversifying into commercial printing for several years, while Ricoh has also been diversifying not only into commercial printing but into areas such as industrial printing with its inkjet printing – a technology it’s also seeking to apply to 3D printing. As for Sharp, it’s re-entering two markets that it had previously exited – PCs and televisions. Canon has been diversifying into medical security and video security, while Epson has been diversifying into robotics and smart wearables. One interesting exception to companies seeking to diversify out of office-imaging is HP Inc., which has been seeking to expand into the office copier/MFP market. The difference with HP Inc. however is that it’s already diversified – with PCs, and commercial, production, and 3D printers.
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