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META HCP shipments achieved “robust” 2018 growth

February 27, 2019

IDC’s Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker has revealed that HCP shipments in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META) region experienced robust Y-o-Y growth “in both units and value in 2018”.

The Tracker showed that 5.44 million units were shipped in the region in 2018 for a total value of $1.7 billion (€1.4 billion), up 8 percent and 6.4 percent, respectively, year on year.

African markets showed the highest growth rates, with Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa all experiencing double-digit year-on-year growth in both units and value. This strong growth was primarily driven by a recovery in natural resource prices (including oil, platinum, and gold) in 2018, particularly during the first half of the year.

“While digitalisation initiatives across META continue to gather pace, demand for paper-based documents remains strong in the region,” says Roberto Alunni, IDC’s Senior Research Manager for imaging, printing, and document solutions in META. “That’s because the use of paper remains necessary in many workflows and business processes, including invoices, legal contracts, and other documents. Indeed, an IDC survey of 391 end-user organisations conducted across the region in 2018 showed that just under half of them still prefer to use paper documents/signatures or a mix of paper and digital documents, rather than relying solely on electronic means to communicate with and report to public authorities.”

Laser shipments increased 8.9 percent year on year in 2018 to total 2.4 million units, with their value rising 4.8 percent over the same period to reach $1.4 billion (€1.2 billion). The fastest growth in the laser technology segment was seen in Algeria, Egypt, and Nigeria, while the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) also posted robust growth. A notable exception to this trend was Turkey, which suffered a year-on-year decline in units and value as a result of the August currency crisis.

New technologies introduced by inkjet vendors aimed at increasing printout speeds and reducing the cost per copy have led to renewed interest from both the home and business markets. Inkjet shipments across META increased 7.1 percent year on year in 2018 to reach 2.92 million units, whilst their value increased at almost twice the rate, up 12.1 percent to $298.2 million (€261.9 million). “The increased adoption of ink-tank devices across the META region continues to drive the total value of the inkjet market,” says Alunni. “While ink-tank devices require a higher upfront cost to purchase the hardware, the ink refills are much cheaper for the end user.”

Serial dot matrix (SDM) shipments increased significantly in 2018, reaching 125,749 units worth $47.8 million (€41.9 million), up 10.6 percent and 18.9 percent, respectively, year on year. The introduction of VAT in GCC countries at the beginning of 2018 led to a rise in demand for these devices, due to the requirement for businesses to print and store invoices.

IDC’s results aren’t the only demonstration of the region’s potential; Messe Frankfurt recently described the Middle East and Africa as a “happy hunting ground” for European brands and cited the region as “a major growth market.”

In addition, research by Smithers Pira has indicated that inkjet printing in the region should achieve a compound annual growth rate of 12.7 percent this year. Andy Thomas-Emans, Strategic Director of Tarsus Group, commented, “The MENA region presents a vast opportunity for companies in the commercial printing business, which the report estimates will grow by 6.2 percent by next year. This is way ahead of the growth rate for the world print market, which, at 1 percent is struggling to adjust to declines in demand for traditional print products as media products become increasingly digitised.”

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