Doc knows you can't look at any single region these days to get an idea of how an industry is doing. So I'm always on the lookout for global sales data. That lead me to a recent report from International Data Group on the state of the hardcopy peripherals market in Europe.
Despite a slight decline in year-on-year shipments of 2.6% to 8.1 million, the outlook remains optimistic for growth but margins for suppliers remain constrained, according to the Western European Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker from a decline in revenues of 10.7% to $3.3 billion from $3.8 billion in 4Q10.
Commenting on these headline numbers, Arnaud Gagneux, director of IDC's Western European Imaging Hardware Devices and Document Solutions group, said, "2012 will be a key year for manufacturers and their channel partners. In the current economic climate consumers are turning away from printing at home while businesses are making sure that they can benefit from all the new features the latest MFPs and printers can offer. Documents are being digitized and workflows streamlined in an attempt by businesses to drive costs out of the business and increase efficiencies."
Phil Sargeant, IDC research manager, said demand for hardcopy devices in the business environment remained strong as combined business inkjet and laser shipments grew 3.1%. In line with current market trends, color devices showed solid growth of 8.4% but monochrome contracted 6.4% and this resulted in an overall reduction in the laser market of 2.1%, which is in line with the overall market decline. Monochrome remains twice the size of the color market, but the gap between the two is narrowing and both monochrome and color devices are beginning to feel some pressure from business inkjet products in the SOHO and small business sectors.
Bright spots for 4Q11 included the continued growth in business inkjets (32.4%), increased installations of color devices (8.4%), and continued strong demand for high-speed inkjet devices (13.6%).
Disappointments included a decline in the consumer inkjet market of 5.1% in the busy Christmas period and a decline in the monochrome printer market of 12.0% in 4Q, which is traditionally a strong market for monochrome devices.