Western Europe Printer/MFP Market Slows in Second Quarter

According to research by International Data Corporation (IDC), the Western European printer and multifunction (MFP) market continued to slow, with consumer inkjet particularly hard hit. The market decreased by 6.1 percent in unit terms in the second quarter of 2019 compared with the same period a year ago to give a market size of 4.13 million units. This meant the overall market declined year-over-year by 268,000 units, but price declines steadied and the value remained flat for revenues of $2.3 billion. This gives a first-quarter 2019 market size of 8.54 million units and a value of $4.6 billion.

Note that in its research, IDC tracks A2–A4 devices for its Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker. Hardcopy peripherals include single-function printers, printer-based multifunctional systems (MFPs), and single-function digital copiers (SFDCs).

Overall inkjet shipments continued to decline as home printing continues to contract at a faster rate than business injects increased. The consumer market contracted by 6.0 percent, while business inkjet shipments increased by 2.2 percent with particularly strong growth rates in some countries and in segments such as A3.

The overall laser market declined by 2.1 percent, largely due to very poor results in the U.K., as half of the countries in Western Europe showed an increase. Growth in laser was largely due to increased A4 color and monochrome MFP shipments, but the A3 monochrome MFP also showed a “surprise growth rate.” Monochrome A4 printer shipments contracted by almost a tenth but remained the largest individual laser segment.

High-speed inkjet shipments dipped slightly while serial impact dot matrix shipments declined heavily.

“Poor shipments in some countries such as the U.K. and the Netherlands dragged the overall Western Europe market down, but some countries such as Italy and Sweden did show growth,” said Phil Sargeant, program director in IDC’s Western European Imaging, Hardware Devices, and Document Solutions group. “In 2019, we have already seen some quite erratic growth patterns across geographies, and IDC expects this to continue over the next few quarters as many of the major macroeconomic factors continue to have a heavy impact on the hardcopy industry.”

Main highlights:

  • The overall Western European hardcopy market contracted by 6.1 percent percent year-over-year in second-quarter 2019, recording a shipment figure of 4.13 million units, while value declined by 1.1 percent.
  • Business inkjet shipments increased 2.2 percent, while consumer inkjets declined by 6.0 percent.
  • The laser markets declined by 2.1 percent, but there was some growth from A4 MFP markets, while A3 remain relatively flat.
  • Growth patterns across countries showed a wide degree of variance, indicating that there are many factors impacting the market.

Main Country Highlights

Growth patterns across Western Europe were quite varied in second-quarter 2019 as some of the smaller country markets improved and some of the major markets struggled in some areas. The main country highlights are as follows:

Germany

The German market contracted for the second quarter in a row, this time by 3.7 percent, but the country remained the largest market. Laser markets declined by 4.6 percent but there was growth from color, especially A4 MFP, though monochrome suffered. One other bright spot in Germany was the growth of business inkjet shipments, especially in the A3 segment. Consumer inkjets continued to decline.

France

The French market overall contracted by 2.5 percent and this was largely due to the decline in consumer inkjets. Overall laser shipments increased as A4 and A3 color MFP shipments continued to grow but as with Germany the monochrome markets fell. Business inkjets increased at a rate higher than the Western European average. Consumer inkjets continued to slide.

The U.K.

The U.K. was one of the worst performing countries, with overall shipments down by 18.9 percent and both laser and inkjets declining at similar double-digit rates. This meant that the U.K.’s overall shipments declined by over 150,000 year on year.

Italy

The Italian market increased for the second quarter in a row, with increases seen in laser markets and business inkjets, with the latter increasing by double-digit figures. Consumer inkjets remained popular as the Italian market bucked the trend by showing an increase. Overall Italian shipments increased by 3.5 percent.

Spain

Spain contracted at a rate similar to the Western European markets. Its decline of 5.2 percent can be mainly attributed to falling consumer markets, and to some extent the laser markets showed a slight contraction. Business inkjets did show an increase for both A4 And A3 formats.

For more information about IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker in EMEA, contact IDC’s Phil Sargeant a psargeant@idc.com.

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