While Australian printer shipments continue to show positive growth, research from IDC Australia predicts that printer values (or pricing) will decrease significantly over the next 12 months.
According to Graham Penn, IDC Australia's general manager, research, printer values could recede by as much as 12 to 13 per cent in the next year -- a fact Penn attributed to the aggressive competition between printer vendors for markets share.
"Printer vendors have recognised for some time that the price of printers is declining steadily," Penn said. "Now the largely proprietary printer consumables market (which includes printer cartridges) is the area where they make money," he added.
Penn said growth across both the Australian inkjet and laser printer markets has been limited in the last 12 months. He claimed, for example, that inkjet printer sales between 1995 and 1996 experienced "fast growth", but countered this by saying that "now you can't sell any".
He said the 13 to 20 page network laser printer segment is experiencing robust growth while low end lasers are under heavy pricing pressures.
"The industry might see some growth in laser printer unit shipments, however they can't compete with their ink jet counterparts," Penn said.
IDC's first quarter market share figures show little change from those prepared three years ago, according to Penn. Hewlett-Packard continues its stranglehold capturing one-third of the market, while Canon (approximately 30 per cent), Epson (approximately 15 per cent) and Lexmark (10 per cent) round out the top four contenders.
Penn added that the current exchange rate spiral is having some affect on printer pricing but he claimed printer vendors wont feel the heat for at least another two months when warehouse inventories and dock supplies dry up.
Meanwhile, Penn claimed printer vendors which conduct transactions in US dollars would be more affected by the exchange rate crisis than those dealing in Asian currencies.