IDC: Western Europe Printer/MFP Shipments ‘Worse than Expected’

According to research conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC), the Western European printer and copier/MFP market declined by 6.9 percent in unit shipments in first-quarter 2020 compared with the same period a year ago, for a market size of 4.33 million units shipped. IDC says this figure is in line with its  forecasts, but notes there was a shift towards affordable desktop devices as workers migrated from the office to the home, and most education establishments closed, leading to home schooling, as the impact of the Covid-19 lockdowns began to take effect across Western Europe.

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).

A4 Shipments Increase, Inkjet Declines

Some vendors and channel partners that had stock to meet the short-term demand saw shipments increase by double digits, while vendors relying more on the larger A3 platforms had mixed fortunes as some saw shipments decline by double digits.

Inkjet-printer shipments continued to decline as expected, but there were several subtle differences versus previous quarters. Single-function printers increased for the first time in a long time, while inkjet monochrome printers and MFPs more than doubled largely due to business inkjets, and desktop A3 devices saw strong growth.

The laser market under-performed, as shipments of both A4 and A3 devices  declined as some offers and installations were cancelled or postponed due to the lockdown. There was negative growth in all technologies and product categories, but A3 shipments were particularly negatively affected and some A4 providers couldn’t meet demand.

High-speed inkjet, serial dot matrix (SDM), and production markets also declined.

Phil Sargeant, program director in IDC’s Western European Imaging, Hardware Devices, and Document Solutions group, commented: “Although some vendors had a successful quarter, the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown can clearly be seen. Growth in all segments was negative as retail, office, education, and manufacturing sites were closed or curtailed, meaning that demand for printing devices slowed towards the end of the quarter.”


• The overall Western European hardcopy market contracted by 6.9 percent year-over-year in the first quarter, with 4.33 million shipments.

• The value for the first-quarter market in Europe declined by 9.0 percent to just over €2 billion.

• Inkjet-printer shipments declined by 5.2 percent in first-quarter 2020.

• Laser-printer shipments for the quarter were down by 9.9 percent.

Main Country Highlights

Most countries in Western Europe had negative growth in the first quarter, and half of them had double-digit declines. The main country highlights are as follows.


The German market declined by 2.1 percent in the first quarter. Laser shipments declined 5.7 percent, while inkjet shipments saw a marginal increase of 0.5 percent, largely due to increases in consumer devices. Both mono and color laser shipments declined, as did the overall A4 and A3 formats.


In France, shipments increased by 1.3 percent to remain the second-largest market in Western Europe. Inkjet shipments increased 3.4 percent, with both consumer and business inkjets seeing increases. Both mono and color shipments declined, but the A4 color MFP segment did increase by 6.9 percent.

The U.K.

U.K. shipments declined 11.4 percent, with a poor performance in the laser markets as it declined overall by a fifth. There were effectively double-digit declines across most laser formats and product groups.


Italian markets declined 15 percent, and both the inkjet and laser markets were badly hit. Most segments saw double-digit declines but there were increases in mono inkjet devices and most of these were business-inkjet devices.


Spanish shipments declined 11.9 percent, and, as with most other countries, inkjet and laser shipments declined by double-digit figures, but there were some pockets of growth as A3 inkjet shipments and A4 color MFP laser devices increased.

For more information about IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker in EMEA, contact IDC’s Phil Sargeant at

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