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Printer hardware market coming under pressure

The third quarter for printer hardware sales was a mixed bag with the UK, along with a fair few other countries, experiencing a decline in sales

Resellers looking to make money in printers are increasingly having to look to the managed services side as hardware comes under pressure.

The latest analysis of European printer sales from Context, which gets the numbers from distribution, indicated that there was a 2% decline year-on-year in unit sales in Q3.

The 2% drop in the UK mirrored the position last year but was nowhere near as bad as some other countries, with Germany experiencing a 14% decline, Switzerland 13% and Sweden 10%.

Spain registered the highgest year-on-year growth at 19% with Portugal also up by 18 but most of the arrows were pointing downwards across Europe.

Zivile Brazdziunaite, imaging market analyst at Context, said that it was a mixed picture as the pressure was being felt in certain product categories.

“Sales of both inkjet and laser MFPs declined by -1% and -4% respectively, while sales of single-function laser printers (SFPs) stabilised, with flat performance over the period," she said.

Colour laser printers grew thanks to falling prices and improved print per page rates but that growth came at the cost of demand for mono alternatives.

From a vendor perspective HP grew by 3% thanks to MFP sales and Kyocera and Ricoh also has a strong Q3 with 11% and 7% improvements respectively. Epson's injkets aimed at the business market went down well and gave the vendor a 16% increase in unit sales.

HP is putting a lot of focus on maintaining and growing its share in the printer market and at the recent Canalys Channels Forum in Barcelona the firms CEO Dion Weisler said there were still plenty of opportunities for the channel.

He underlined that view in an analyst briefing last week where he outlined plans to increase the push on commercial printing as well as “revitalizing” its consumer offerings.

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