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 user 2005-09-21 at 11:02:00 am Views: 40
  • #12878

    New Billion-Dollar Printer Market Takes Shape

    The barely year-old market for color laser multifunction printers is poised for an explosive liftoff.

    According to Lyra
    Research, which tracks trends in the imaging market, shipments of color
    laser multifunction printers (MFPs)–printers that also copy, scan and
    fax–will grow at 220% compounded annually to 2009.

    This year North American shipments of MFPs will hit nearly 78,000
    units, up from 1,700 last year, according to Larry Jamieson, author of
    the report. By 2009, he says, total shipments will surpass 595,000. If
    buyers latch onto systems at the low end of the price range (between
    $700 and $2,500), the nascent market could very conservatively be worth
    $600 million within four years.

    “Once people start to figure out that they can do so much more with an
    MFP, the market is going to start growing very rapidly,” he says.

    Black-and-white and color inkjet MFPs have been around for several
    years, but laser may be a more attractive option for businesses since
    those systems have faster output and generally require less technical
    attention than inkjet. For example, toner cartridges used in laser
    systems last far longer than the ink cartridges used in inkjet models.

    The growth of color laser MFPs will come at the expense of the inkjet
    MFP market, but shouldn’t jeopardize sales of stand-alone printers,
    Jamieson says.

    Canon  introduced the first color laser MFP in November 2004. Oki
    Data Americas, Hewlett-Packard , Epson and Xerox  followed suit
    earlier this year. Others, including Lexmark International  and
    Dell , will likely enter the market, too. “But right now those that are
    already there have a leg up,” Jamieson says.

    The popularity of color laser MFPs is another indicator of a long
    migration toward color printing. “We’ll still see a lot of
    monochromatic printers, but there’s definitely a trend toward color,”
    he said. “In the past, small business owners couldn’t afford it. Now
    they are seeing that they can and that there are interesting color
    solutions available.”

    Jamieson said that these latest MFPs have state-of-the-art print
    engines, comparable to the ones found in stand-alone printers.