The decline in printer sales arrested in the third quarter but Gartner is cautious of forecasting a more concerted recovery in the market, despite HP recently pinning its hopes on a corporate refresh.
Around 1.15m MFPs and standalone printers and copiers were shipped in the UK during the period, down 3% on a year ago but this was markedly better than the 30% and 22% drops in the French and German market, said analysts.
Split by form factor, flat bed MFPs – which accounted for 77% of all shipments – grew 13%, but this was offset by a 34% and 38% decline in sales of printers and copiers as the migration from standalone devices continues at pace.
The market is moving in the right direction but Tosh Prabhakar, senior analyst at Gartner was not upbeat about short term growth prospects.
“I cannot see things dramatically improving in the next six to nine months, the hardware is very mature and there are no compelling technologies that will drive the market forward,” he told MicroScope.
This is in contrast to the comments made by HP CEO Mark Hurd when filing its fourth quarter financials, who forecast a significant rebound in sales as companies’ upgraded ageing fleets that was already starting to occur.
Prabhakar said it was “premature” to expect an uptick in the first quarter but agreed the market could get “interesting” from the second.
“It is ambitious of HP to think that it will see a refresh in the next term,” he said.
Gartner reiterated earlier claims that managed and print services were resonating with businesses keen to cut costs, “going forward boxes will be very similar so vendors will look to software and services as major revenues drivers.”