Printer market poised to begin slow recovery in 2013

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Despite a 10-percent year-over-year increase for the full year 2012, the color laser multifunction peripheral (MFP) market declined 1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 (4Q12) as ongoing weakness in the global economy finally caught up with this segment.

This marks the first quarter where color laser MFP contracted year over year to 995K units.

Overall, the worldwide printer market, which research firm IDC calls ?hardcopy peripherals (HCP) market?, declined 11.2 percent year-over-year in 4Q12 to 31.1 million units.

“The inkjet market is largely responsible for the declines due to weak consumer demand. However, business inkjet growth is solid, and these premium-priced products are helping vendors to overcome some of their consumer revenue declines. IDC expects the market will slowly begin to recover as consumer confidence returns, but growth rates will be in the single digits,” said Phuong Hang, program manager at IDC.

Technology highlights

Inkjet accounted for 64 percent of the total hardcopy peripherals market in 4Q12 with more than 19.8 million units shipped, declining 14 percent year over year. All regions experienced year-over-year declines in the quarter.

Monochrome laser represented 27 percent of the total market, up 2 points from 4Q11. Monochrome continues to be very much in demand in business environments, especially in times of financial hardship.

Most pages printed are in fact monochrome, and the A4 MFP is becoming a popular model in environments where no color is required.

Color laser decreased 11 percent year-over-year on shipments of more than 1.7 million units. Eventually, color devices will overtake monochrome in volume. There are aspects of monochrome that are declining, but color is rapidly developing in both A4 and A3 markets.

Credit: IDC

Vendor highlights

HP leads the global hardcopy peripherals market with 38.5 percent market share and more than 12.9 million units shipped in 4Q12. HP achieved its best year-over-year results in China, growing 1 percent to over 983K units in the fourth quarter.

For the full year, HP held 38.9 percent of the overall market on shipments of nearly 13 million units.

Canon, the number 2 ranked vendor, captured 22.4 percent of the market in 4Q12, up 3 points from a year ago. With 6.9 percent year ?over-year growth in the quarter, Canon had the best performance among the top 5 vendors.

Canon also grew an impressive 40 percent year over year to reclaim the top spot in Japan, with more than 1.8 million units shipped in the region.

Epson maintained its spot among the top three vendors in 4Q12 with 14.4 percent share, down 2 points from a year ago, and shipments of 4.5 million units.

Epson’s best results came in the United States, where it experienced 11 percent year-over-year growth in the quarter. For the full year, Epson experienced a decline of 23.9 percent year-over-year, the sharpest drop among the top 5.

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