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HP: No more free ink

December 7, 2020

In their recent earnings call, HP confirmed that Instant ink continues to grow and has passed the companies 8 million subscriber target, but omitted to say is that the print-free-for-life tier of their instant ink programme is ending.

For the low volume consumer, HP’s print-free-for-life tier of their instant ink programme was a winner, designed to lure the consumer in. The print-free-for-life was limited to 15 pages a month and certainly helped build the over 8 million instant ink subscribers.

However, in their recent earnings call, HP Inc’s CEO, Enrique Lores, omitted to say is that the print-free-for-life tier of their instant ink programme is ending.

The Instant Ink free tier is now being scrapped, and users will have to start paying HP a monthly fee or the printer will stop working. Prices are now $0.99 / €0.99 a month for 15 pages with the ability to roll over up to 45 unused pages.

HP’s new HP Plus “end-to-end platform strategy” that ties customers into only using HP toner and ink supplies to create “a differentiated value proposition for our loyal customers,” said Lores.

In other words, they want to rebalance of profitability between hardware and supply because printing accounts for just 31% of HP’s total revenues and the bulk (65%) is the supplies segment. Supplies is a competitive space where reuse and new build alternatives are carving out a substantial market share as bit as 45% in some markets.

Editorial Opinion: We receive more complaints from consumers about the HP Instant Ink programme than any other single issue. So this change will cause some ripples, but in a mature market where a printer purchase is a replacement sale, the question is, will the consumer choose HP or an alternative option?

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