Amazon's Kindle and Apple's iPad have been called a major reason for the declining print business, in this case print is referred to magazines and newspapers. While the old-school guard is holding strong around the world, we are indeed seeing the gradual rise in content consumption through mobile devices.
The other print industry is the everyday printer we use in our offices or homes. Hewlett-Packard has been sailing through rough times. The company did not have a lot of success with its tablet and ended up suspending tablet production only to restart it in time for Microsoft's Windows 8. The company is seeing declining profits in its PC division and almost sold it only to hold onto it. The other major HP business is printers, used heavily in enterprise and since companies would rather not have paper cups than limit printer output, it doesn't look like print is going anywhere any time soon. Similarly, these printers are used at homes.
HP decided to figure out if the everyday printer was becoming irrelevant in the household and for that they conducted a large scale experiment. Called the 7 Days Without Printer, HP removed printers from homes of focus-group members in cities across Singapore, US and India. The participants had to give up the following forms of print:
- ID clothes
- Certain printed clothes
Since part of the experiment was conducted in India, I was intrigued and contacted HP to know more about their findings in India. Here's the focus-group definition according to HP:
- the experiment was done in the city of Bangalore
- participants were female in the age group of 30-50 years (head of households)
- they all had a printer that was used at least 3-4 times a week and a computing device like desktop PC or laptop
- the participant or their better-half worked in a company with less than 100 employees where printers were used daily
The results of the experiment were not surprising. To keep it simple, people said they need print. HP says their learning from India were not different from Singapore or US, some quotes from the participants:
"Print can take a mundane package and make it fancy and enticing. It can be so gripping that you have to buy it.”
"For the last two days, it was only white everywhere. Everything was blank…I did not feel like eating or doing anything interesting…”
"Without print, I would feel lifeless…as soon as I close my eyes I see colors even in dreams I see colors… I cannot imagine life without it…”
An interesting experiment.