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Western European Hardcopy Shipments Remain Stable, But Revenues Feel the Pressure, says IDC

Western European printer and multifunction (MFP) markets continued to show strong growth as 3Q14 showed increases of 2.0% when compared to the same period a year ago, according to data released by International Data Corporation (IDC). This gave a 3Q14 market figure of 5.87 million units and represents actual unit growth of over 118,000 units. But there are strong pressures on prices and the value of hardware shipping continued to contract.

MFP products again accounted for 80.8% of all shipments as a result of the MFP market increasing by 2.8% and printers declining by 1.2%. Laser markets remained flat and the main emphasis for growth was again on color MFP products, but the single biggest market for hardware remained the A4 printer, even though this segment contracted. Inkjet markets continued to show year-on-year increases but demand in consumer markets weakened, while the growth patterns of business inkjets were again strong.

"The overall market increased for the sixth quarter in a row and although this growth may not be in double-digit figures, it does show that there are still many positives to be taken from the industry and there are several growth markets such as business inkjets and color laser which have become a major focus for many vendors wishing to adapt their business models to changing customer requirements," said Phil Sargeant, program director of IDC's Western European Imaging Hardware Devices and Document Solutions group.

Main Highlights

The overall Western European hardcopy market increased year-on-year by 2.0% in 3Q14

Year to date shipments for 2014 are 4.5% higher than for the same period in 2013. This equates to growth of over 700,000 so far in 2014 and this shows that that 2014 is likely to be a positive growth year.

Total inkjet markets increased by 2.8% in the second quarter of 2014 from the second quarter of 2013. Business inkjets showed the most year-on-year growth at 10.9% and consumer markets slowed. showing a more modest growth of 1.8%.

The laser markets were effectively flat. A result of -0.1% year-on-year growth saw small gains for color products, but this was offset by declines in the monochrome markets, especially printers.

High-speed inkjet printers increased by more than three quarters and the technology had one of its best ever quarters.

Country Highlights


The German market increased 3.5% year-on-year in 3Q14, which was above the Western European average. Business inkjet markets were strong and increased year-on-year by 19.8%, but consumer inkjets could only manage year-on-year growth of 1.8%. The laser market in Germany did show some growth and this was actually due to monochrome increases, which bucked the trend of other countries. Both monochrome printer and MFP products increased. Color shipments contracted quite sharply, especially for printers, while MFP shipments remained flat. The high speed inkjet market doubled and most of the Western European growth for SDM products took place in Germany.


In contrast to German growth, shipments in France in 3Q14 contracted by 3.3% when compared to the same period last year. All the major technology areas in France declined. Inkjet demand fell by 1.5% and laser markets declined 8.1%. The consumer markets for inkjet showed a small decline and there was actually a modest increase of 3.6% for business inkjets in France, but increases were not enough to counteract the declines seen in consumer markets. SDM shipments in France continued to decline though, but as in Germany high-speed inkjet product shipments doubled.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom recorded growth of 7.8% and in sharp contrast to France the U.K. saw year-on-year increases in both inkjet and laser markets. As a result, the U.K. remained the second largest market in Western Europe. One blip that did occur in the U.K. was the contraction of the business inkjet market by 11.2%, but it must be noted that there were very strong shipments in the first half of the year. Laser markets increased 3.3% when compared to the same period last year, with growth being derived by color and monochrome MFP printer products. Laser printers continued to decline while high speed printers' increased sharply. SDM products showed slight gains.


Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker November 2014.

All growth rates quoted are year-on-year (3Q14 vs. 3Q13).

IDC tracks A2–A4 devices in the Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker.

Hardcopy peripherals include single-function printers, printer-based multifunctional systems (MFPs), and single-function digital copiers (SFDCs). Data is reported for calendar periods.



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