KONICA MINOLTA TARGETS SA MARKET

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KONICA MINOLTA TARGETS SA MARKET

 user 2006-06-09 at 11:14:00 am Views: 58
  • #15773

    Konica Minolta targets SA market
    PRINTER company Konica Minolta has appointed two new distributors to help it to increase its sales as demand for colour printers begins to take off.Workgroup and TVR Computers are now handling its colour laser printers in a bid to help the company expand its market share from just 7%.“In SA our market share isn’t so good so we are accelerating our investment,” said Kanji Wada, MD for printing solutions in Europe.The move will bring it into direct competition with rivals Samsung, Lexmark and Epson, which jostle for position far behind the dominant player Hewlett-Packard.Konica Minolta did relatively well in 2004, when it won 8% of the market, but it has fallen back this year. Hence it is making an extra effort to regain its place, said Tai Nizawa, its manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. That means appointing Workgroup and TVR Computers alongside its existing distributors Itec and Minolta.In 2004 when the global brands Konica and Minolta merged, Itec and Minolco fought over who was to handle the new brand. Itec had imported Konica products and Minolco imported the Minolta range. After an acrimonious spat, both were retained and given equal access to the products.Now they have extra competition, although Nizawa said the new distributors targeted different customers. Itec and Minolta specialise in office products, while Workgroup and TVR Computers sell to IT-focused dealers.With four distributors now in place, Konica Minolta is planning to open an office in Johannesburg soon. “We need a sales activity here to go to the dealers with information and convince them about the advantages of taking a Konica Minolta product,” Nizawa said.The company runs branch offices in most of the countries it targets. In SA it is too dependent on its distributors.Its increased interest in SA is mainly due to the growth of colour printer sales. So far, fewer than 10% of the sales are colour, compared to 20% in more developed markets.Until colour sales hit 5%, Konica Minolta judges a market too small to focus upon.Growth should come quickly, Nizawa said. SA’s gross domestic product is too high to justify printer sales only a tenth the volume of those in Germany.“The laser printer market is 25000 units and in Germany it’s 250000, but the growth rate is very high and picking up quickly.”Konica Minolta credits HP with laser printer sales of $11,3m in SA last year, in a total market of $23m. It also credits HP with almost 11000 of the 25000 colour printers sold, while Konica Minolta sold 1944 units.