The top office printing technology vendors playing in the Australian market saw a continued fall in device shipments for the three months ending March, with Canon, HP and Epson all seeing a slump.
According to the latest figures by industry analyst firm IDC, Australian hardcopy peripherals (HCP) shipments fell by 8.8 per cent, year-on-year, during the first quarter of 2018 to 446,000 units.
Overall, the IDC Asia Pacific Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker data showed that both the laser and inkjet markets have contributed to the decline, with the segments falling by 8.6 per cent and 9.3 per cent, year-on-year, respectively.
Among the providers of office inkjet printers, Canon saw the biggest year-on-year fall, with a 21.2 per cent drop in unit shipments, to 92,000 units, while Brother bucked the trend, with a 17.3 per cent lift.
In the inkjet category, HP topped the rankings in terms of shipment volumes, with 116,400 shipments, while still seeing a 1.4 per cent fall during the period. HP was followed by Canon, Epson and Brother in terms of total shipments.
According to IDC, the laser printing industry continues the downward trend, which was primarily driven by the sales volume loss of low price-band models.
In the office laser printer space, Brother topped the list in terms of shipment volumes, while registering a 6.5 per cent year-on-year increase for the period, to 57,800 units. However, HP, Xerox, Kyocera Document Solutions and Ricoh all saw declines.
At the same time, for laser peripherals, Fuji Xerox experienced a decline of 30 per cent, as it continues its efforts to recover from top-level executive and board resignations after the $450 million accounting scandal that rocked the company last year.
Since then, Fuji Xerox has also consolidated its direct and channel businesses with most of the channel business, Fuji Xerox Printers, staff not joining the merged business.
While overall shipments are down across both categories, IDC Australia associate market analyst Jimmy Li said that some vendors are aiming for the prestige end of the market to boost profit.
"As the print space in Australia reaches saturation, brands try different tactics to enhance market share,” Li said, noting that the top five brands in Australia comprise over 94 per cent of the entire market.
“Some have changed strategy to reallocate resources to high end products to help improve profit,” he said.
The IDC research found that shipment units of those models with relatively low speed or low price had significantly decreased over the past two quarters.
Given that the 2018 forecast by IDC still shows downward trend in Australia, for both inkjet and laser markets, the analyst firm expects brands to focus on maintaining profitability in the inkjet space and compete on click charge to keep market share in laser market.