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China’s printing equipment shipments hit a record high

China’s printing equipment shipments hit a record high

February 24, 2021

IDC’s latest “Quarterly Tracking Report on China’s Hardcopy Peripheral Market (Q4 2020)” shows that in the fourth quarter of 2020, China’s hardcopy peripherals market shipped 5.463 million units, an increase of 13.2% year-on-year.

Shipments of inkjet printers was 2.023 million, a year-on-year increase of 26.7%, shipments of laser printers was 2.838 million, a year-on-year increase of 13.1% and shipments of dot matrix printers was 602,000, a year-on-year decrease of 16.4%.

In 2021, the Chinese printer market will enter a complex adjustment period, and supply shortages will affect the entire year according to IDC. The main reasons for the shortage of supply are as follows:

  • Affected by the fire, the production activities of AKM (Asahi Kasei), a Japanese semiconductor manufacturer and also a major supplier of printer components, suffered heavy losses. There is still uncertainty about whether it can resume supply as soon as possible.
  • Due to the current global chip shortage, the supply of printer chips is also in short supply. In the short term, this situation will continue to affect mid-2021.
  • The epidemic has led to insufficient shipping capacity, a substantial increase in transportation costs, and a slowdown in customs clearance, which will cause supply problems for manufacturers who need to supply goods through their overseas factories. Therefore, to ensure a stable supply of products is an important challenge facing the printer market in 2021.

Shipments of inkjet printers in the fourth quarter of 2020 maintained a year-on-year growth. There are three reasons for this difference, according to IDC:

  • In China, the main users of inkjet products are small and medium-sized enterprises and some household users, and the purchase demand of small and medium-sized enterprises has been suppressed by the epidemic. The growth of the inkjet market is mainly due to the increase of household users in the consumer market.
  • The prices of some low-end laser products have dropped, which is close to or even lower than the price of inkjet products. Therefore, low-end laser products are more competitive in low-level cities.
  • For major manufacturers such as Canon and HP, the focus of their business is mainly on ink cartridge products. The prices of ink cartridge products are generally lower than ink tank products, and users who purchase printers for the first time tend to choose low-priced printers.

In the fourth quarter, the A3 laser multifunction machine market continued its growth trend. On the one hand, due to the uncertainty of the epidemic and the impact of the Spring Festival holiday, manufacturers advanced the sales rhythm. On the other hand, some international manufacturers experienced supply shortages in November and December.

Taking into account the future price increase and market demand, dealers increased their stockpiles in the fourth quarter. This has promoted the growth of the A3 laser market to a certain extent.

In addition, due to the increase in user demand for colour printing, colour laser machines contribute more profit growth. Major manufacturers have increased the promotion of colour A3 copiers, resulting in a rapid growth in sales of colour A3 copiers. The IDC research shows that the fourth quarter shipments of A3 colour copiers increased by 25.7% year-on-year, which was much higher than the 8.3% growth rate of A3 black and white copiers.

In the fourth quarter, the shortage of A4 laser printers was the most prominent. With the gradual stabilisation of the pandemic, commercial market demand has recovered. The pandemic in some areas meant the household consumption market has also grown. The strong market demand has highlighted the problem of shortage of supply.

Among them, international manufacturers are more affected. Taking into account the risk of product shortages and strong market demand, channels have begun to actively stock up, and manufacturers have to adopt a quantitative supply method to ensure product supply within a certain period of time, according to IDC. Unlike international manufacturers, the short-term supply shortage of domestic manufacturers is not obvious, and the supply shortage will appear in the second quarter of 2021. From the current point of view, the overall supply shortage will continue until mid-2021.

In December, the State Administration of Taxation issued the “Announcement on Issues Concerning the Implementation of the Electronic Application of Special Value-Added Tax Invoices among New Taxpayers” (hereinafter referred to as the “Announcement”). The two-step implementation of special invoices among newly registered taxpayers nationwide. This makes the dot matrix printer market suffer another heavy blow, and the future market size will shrink at an accelerated rate.

IDC believes that although the policies and market environment are not improving, the full implementation of the electronic VAT invoices still faces many obstacles. The digitisation of special value-added tax invoices has been promoted relatively quickly in small and medium-sized enterprises in pilot cities, but will be slower in low-level cities and underdeveloped regions. In a short period of time, the market demand for dot matrix printers is still facing downward pressure, and it is expected that a greater decline will occur after the large-scale implementation of government tax e-commerce.

Ren Mengxue, a Senior Analyst of IDC China’s Printing, Imaging and Document Solutions Research Department, believes that the market will still face greater uncertainty in 2021, and the shortage of supply will be the biggest challenge facing the printer market growth in the future. Manufacturers and distributors should be more flexible in formulating production and sales plans for the first half of 2021 to deal with supply shortages.

David Connett, Partner at Connett & Unland GbR commented: “The OEMs appear to be in panic mode at the moment. Sales of A3 devices are increasing, but in Europe these devices are often replacing A3 devices that are between three and five years old.  It is no secret that A3 devices are often underutilised which is storing up a problem down the road as more current A3 models enter the reuse channel. In Europe sales of refurbished A3 devices has doubled in the last year and as OEMs put more current models into the reuse market, the long term sales of new A3 devices will decline. A4 is where the home office, home schooling demand is at the moment and is likely to be there well into 2021 and possibly 2022.”

Categories : World Focus

Tags : China HCP IDC Supply Shortages

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