The predictions that 2009 was going to be a bad 12 months for printer and MFP shipments proved to be correct as sales across EMEA fell by almost a fifth.
The bad news is that the crystal ball gazers do not expect the market to return to growth in 2010, and although interest in managed print services (MPS) continues to grow; vendors need to begin targeting SMEs as well as large enterprises.
Market data from Gartner revealed unit sales dropped 17.8% on the previous year to 39.6 million devices as revenues fell more steeply by 21% to €14.4bn, which given the poor state of play in 2008 was quite an achievement.
Stringent credit controls initiated by the banks and a slowdown in spending on peripherals by consumers and business impacted the numbers, said Gartner principal analyst Sharon McNee
"2009 remained another low performing year in EMEA as printer devices sales declined every quarter," she said.
Sales of colour devices proved to be the bright sport with 5% growth in 2009, particularly MFPs, but the A3 printer/copier segment declined steeper than A4 standalone machines.
Shipments from the top five vendors declined with market leader HP down 21%, Canon down 17.3%, Epson falling 12.4%, Samsung dipping 2% and Brother dropping 20.4%.
Although other industry sectors are returning to seasonal growth, the printer hardware market looks set to continue struggling.
"The printer, copier and MFPs market is competing for scarce disposable income, coupled with a relatively low demand from businesses and consumers to replace existing devices," said McNee.
"Although the recession has accelerated interest in managed print services for organisation that seek long term cost savings, MPS are mainly adopted by large organisations," she said, adding vendors needed to also "educate" SMEs.