Channel critical to Brother enterprise plans

Channel critical to Brother enterprise plans

Convergence looks to be the name of the game in the printing market, according to new research released by IDC.

That was the message delivered by research director, Joel Martin, following a Brother-sponsored survey the market analyst firm conducted among 167 enterprise users.

As a general market overview, Martin said IDC was seeing a tremendous amount of device convergence, MFDs were starting to cannibalise the single-function printer market and the simplicity of networking devices in the enterprise space was driving down prices.

He also said Bluetooth and wireless LAN printing was a driver in the corporate sector because it took advantage of the increased number of executives with notebooks and Tablet PCs.

In the enterprise user survey, 29 per cent rated cost as the main reason for choosing a printer, 19 per cent said they were more influenced by past experiences, 16 per cent on brand recognition and 14 per cent for speed.

“The enterprise space is very competitive right now because of the standardisation across printing and networks,” said Martin. “There is an opportunity for Brother to get into large corporate accounts but it is going to take some good channel partnerships to make it happen.”

Brother International Australia director, George Nawa, announced in May that the vendor was targeting the corporate and government arena because there was less competition at the top end of town compared to the rest of the market. He said HP and Lexmark had the market pretty much stitched up, but Brother would look to provide more choice.

Speaking after the release of the IDC survey, Nawa highlighted total cost of ownership, convergence, mobile and wireless as the major market drivers. He said Brother had a worldwide commitment to corporate and government markets but admitted experiences in the US and European markets suggested it would take at least a further 12 to 18 months before it started to see major implementations in the enterprise space.

“Brother is well established in the Australian SME market and has developed a good reputation, but in corporate accounts the cycles are much longer,” he said. “We have already had some small implementations but big customers want to look carefully at how products perform before they are prepared to buy in large numbers.”

IDC figures for the second quarter of 2003 placed Brother in joint fifth spot with a 3 per cent share of the overall laser printer market. HP leads the way with 38 per cent, followed by Lexmark (19 per cent), Kyocera Mita (13 per cent), Canon (9 per cent) and Samsung (5 per cent).

HP also leads the laser MFD market for the same quarter but is less dominant with a 26 per cent share. Canon ranked second with 20 per cent, Xerox registered 13 per cent and Brother was placed fourth with 10 per cent.

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