Paperless office nowhere near as global page volumes grow

Global page volumes printed on hardcopy devices only declined by 1% last year with emerging markets in particular showing a preference for pressing 'print', according to IDC

The printing industry can relax for a bit longer as the dawning of a paperless office looks like being a long way off, even in mature markets including the UK.

The latest figures from IDC show that worldwide print volumes from hardcopy devices decreased last year by just 1% compared to 2010.

Although page volumes in developed markets did drop by 5% the developing countries led the way in pressing print with a 7.5% volume growth.

Across EMEA Western Europe saw a decline in page volumes printed but in the Middle East and Africa the number went up.

"In total, over two million pages were printed in EMEA every minute. If we wanted to transport the pages printed in EMEA last year, almost 200,000 fully loaded 28-ton trucks would be needed," said research director Ilona Stankeova, imaging & hardcopy devices research and document solutions, IDC CEMA.

But for the UK and the rest of Western Europe the declines in future years might be more pronounced as a combination of factors, including economic and environmental, start to change user behaviour.

Those printing were mainly doing so on inkjet printers according to IDC which said it commanded 60% of the installed base, even if it only contributed to 7% of the pages printed in EMEA.

Colour laser seems to be gaining more traction in the market with both the installed base and page volumes increasing last year, with the latter growing by 5% thanks to the growth in the multifunction device segment.

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