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The future of the print industry

June 17, 2016

Is MPS causing the print market to decline?MPSA

The business world is trying to operate using less hard copy and “home users” appear to favour “mobile devices and cloud storage” over desktop printers, but will this have a detrimental affect on the print market, asks PRS in an article.

In a research report from CONTEXT, it was reported that “all major Western European (WE) countries registered negative unit sales performance across distribution in Q1 2016, except for Italy”. Zivile Brazdziunaite, Imaging Market Analyst for CONTEXT, said: “Sales of business-targeted inkjet printers continue to increase by three per cent year-on-year in WE distribution, while the revenue was flat in Q1 2016. This is mainly due to a strong performance of Epson, while sales of HP business- targeted inkjets declined for the quarter.

“In contrast, the performance of consumer-targeted inkjet printers continue to decline across WE distribution, due to continuous weakening of the demand and increased usage of mobile devices.”

It appears that it is harder to sell printers, but Jacqueline Hendriks, Manager of European MPS and Document Solutions, points out that even though printing is declining this has created a demand for “printer and document related services”. Hendriks said: “We talk continually about the eventual paperless office and although IDC’s 2016 Western European SMB end-user survey results indicate the gradual move towards digital content, this has two effects – on the one hand, it is a key factor for a decrease in print volumes.

“On the other hand, as more information is received in digital format or scanned, it also drives an increase in some companies – the amount of digital information received is growing exponentially and, although they are printing a significantly smaller percentage of what they receive, in some companies this still constitutes an overall print volume increase.

“The Western European print services market continues to grow in Europe, fuelled by the business need to reduce overall operational costs as well as increase productivity and efficiency, through the implementation of better print and document management solutions.”

This is where MPS comes in, and Brother UK Managing Director Phil Jones added: “There is still plenty of MPS opportunity out there, particularly in the SMB space. At the high-end enterprise level, customers are well served and mostly already under contract so the battleground remains in the SMB sector. There is still plenty of MPS opportunity out there, particularly in the SMB space.”

Stuart Mizon, Midwich’s Divisional Director, also commented: “While larger end users may already be using MPS in some way, shape or form, there is a huge number of SMEs who have little or no idea of their print costs within their businesses. Print services can be offered in many different shapes and sizes and a tailored approach can be taken to ensure it meets the needs of all users.”

On the future of the print market, Jones noted: “There will be fewer players for sure, with a number of vendors up for sale or recently sold, consolidation remains a key theme. The race to get pages under contract will hot up too so it’s vital the channel builds capability with managed services at all levels.”

Louise Witchell from John Lewis concludes: “The printer market growth will continue to slow and the levels of growth will diminish. At key times of the year like ‘back to school’ and ‘off to university’ there will still be a demand for printers and for families, but I think other customer groups will decline.

“The market in the future will see printers becoming a potential feature within the connected home story. They will become smaller and more compact with improved functionality. As people print less, the convenience and ease of use will play a factor in whether a customer decides to purchase a printer.”

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