February 11, 2019
According to research by International Data Corporation (IDC), the Western European printer and multifunction (MFP) market decreased by 6.9 percent in unit terms in 4Q18 compared with the same period a year ago.
This is in line with the previous quarter and contributed to the 2018 overall Western Europe market contracting by 5.3 percent. This equated to a decline of over 1 million units to create a market of below 20 million units. The negative trend can be clearly seen, and it will continue over IDC’s forecast period.
In 4Q18 the inkjet markets suffered the most despite the Christmas period as shipments declined by 8.8 percent, and most of this decline was in consumer inkjets as the home print market continues to change. Business inkjets did dip in 4Q18, but not all OEMs suffered as some had positive growth. The value for the business inkjet market was positive as more A3 devices shipped. The overall 2018 shipment figure for inkjet devices was also negative.
Laser shipments were flat in 4Q18, but value suffered as there was a skew towards lower speed monochrome devices which naturally carry lower average sales prices (ASPs). Monochrome markets increased by 1.7 percent due to high A4 shipments, but lower than expected A4 colour printer sales meant that the overall colour market declined 4.8 percent. Values for both laser markets also fell. A relatively poor end to the year meant that 2018 laser markets did decline, but there was growth in some areas.
The niche market of serial impact dot matrix (SDM) also declined in 4Q18 and 2018. This technology has been declining for many years but is still profitable for those remaining within it.
“Contraction in the hardcopy markets is clearly in evidence as many organisations transition parts of their business processes away from paper to digital,” said Phil Sargeant, Program Director in IDC’s Western European Imaging, Hardware Devices, and Document Solutions group. “The printed page will remain a vital communication tool for most organisations across the vertical spectrum, however, as not all processes are ready for digitisation. Proof points for this simply include the number of laser and business inkjets that still ship in their millions every quarter.”
Growth patterns across Western European countries varied greatly in 4Q18 as some of the larger countries declined, but smaller ones increased. The main country highlights are as below:
The largest market in Western Europe declined 4.1 percent in 4Q18. The market amounted to 1.37 million units, and generally market shipments were in line with European averages. The German market for the whole of 2018 was also negative, declining 7.4 percent.
Shipments in 4Q18 showed a decline of 9.5 percent in 4Q18, with a shipment figure of 1.02 million, and this decline therefore contributed to the overall 2018 market falling 7.1 percent.
Overall shipments declined 7 percent in 4Q18, which is again in line with Western European averages. The U.K. did perform relatively well during the start of 2018, and this meant the U.K. market contracted by 3.7 percent in 2018.
Italy was one of the brighter markets in 2018, and although it was flat in 4Q18 its overall 2018 growth was 3 percent as many OEMs saw their Italian shipments increase.
Although Spain declined in 4Q18, its performance was better than most countries. Its 4Q18 growth figure showed a decline of 1.6 percent, but overall the 2018 Spain figure showed a decline of 4.5 percent.
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