Inkjets under fire

Inkjets under fire

Vendors need new strategies to bolster inkjet printer sales as multi-function printers begin to eat into their market, according to the author of new research into the local inkjet market.

The latest IDC figures show that while inkjet printer shipments for 2002 were up 6.8 per cent from 2001, the fourth quarter of 2002 saw inkjet printer shipments fall by 4 per cent on the previous quarter.

The quarterly decline was due to an increased push on colour laser printers, the traditionally quiet fourth quarter period, and the price war which has recently begun in the multi-function printer (MFP) space, according to report author. Katina Goussetis, IDC Peripherals and Devices market analyst.

“The fact that there is year-on-year growth is a good sign that the market will continue to grow, however the year on year percentage growth is expected to decline significantly over the coming years as a result of the introduction of more MFP inkjets,” Goussetis said.

The price wars in the inkjet printer space would keep shipments steady, she said.

“As the popularity of inkjet MFPs increases amongst the end-user then vendors will need to think of new pricing strategies or value-adds that allow the single-function inkjets to stand their ground," Goussetis said. While MFPs were one of distributor Tech Pacific’s fastest growing products, Peripherals category manager' Joshua Velling' disagreed that they were cutting into the traditional inkjet market.

Revenues for the low- and high-end MFPs were up 20 per cent in the first quarter of this year and the number of units shipped had risen 22 per cent, Velling said. But he argued that the growth wasn’t coming from the laser or inkjet printers, which were both “holding relatively static, quarter on quarter”.

While conceding that as the price point of MFPs fell, it would impact on the inkjet market, Velling said high-end laser MFPs represented a new market opportunity in the photocopier space.

The market for colour inkjet printers would remain strong on the back of demand for digital camera printing, he said.

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