This was an unexpected increase after the Australian printer market's decline during Q4 in 2003.
IDC's total figure in its report released today includes both single function and multifunction (MFP) inkjet printers, laser and serial dot matrix (SDM) printers. The total printer market grew by 33 percent compared to the same period last year.
IDC reported in 2003 that "the total printer market experienced a seasonal 12 percent drop in unit shipments from Q3 to Q4 and warned the market could slide by as much as 13 percent in 2004 compared to 2003."
Contrary to previous predictions, shipments of SDM printers increased by 33 percent from the previous quarter (3,200 units were shipped in Q1 2004). The growing demand for inkjet MFPs also prompted significant growth of 19 percent with 166,000 units shipped in Q1 2004. Single-function inkjets, on the other hand, dropped by 2 percent in units shipped compared to Q4 as demand grew for MFPs.
Shipments of mono laser printers reached 54,000 units in Q1, a growth of 27 percent over Q4 last year, while colour laser printers hit 9,000 units, up by 34 percent quarter on quarter. This shows a great improvement from its 11 percent decline from Q3 to Q4 last year.
"The overall growth in the market mainly came from the vendors' pricing and promotional initiatives to push demand in the various segments of the printer market for the start of the new year," said Su-Lin Ng, IDC printer analyst.
She said vendors offered attractive promotional incentives particularly in colour laser print market to the channel and end users.
"Aggressive price reductions were imposed and vendors have also engaged in advertising to increase their brand and product awareness in the colour space," added Ng.
IDC previously predicted that the total printer market would continue to decline by around 13 percent over 2004, with laser MFPs and inkjet printers continuing to impact single function machines.
However, the predictions now seem to be for this strong growth to continue in the second quarter of 2004 with the financial year-end becoming a major driver for the printer market.
"Competitive pressures from the colour laser printer and inkjet MFP market will play significant roles in driving positive growth in the quarter. Vendors have indicated that pushing colour laser printers will be a major focus and the introduction of a series of new models with competitive prices should increase demand of the channel and end users in the market space," said Ng.