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 user 2006-12-28 at 2:05:00 pm Views: 42
  • #16916

    2006: the year of color printers
    there was one common theme that came up when talking to the various
    major printer vendors about what happened in 2006 in the printer
    market, it was that this year was the year of color.

    2006] we saw rapid growth of color, in particular to small businesses
    who want to create their own professional looking color documents. And
    price points have fallen [where] it has become possible for a business
    who previously couldn’t afford to buy a color laser printer,” said
    Jean-Paul Desmarais, marketing manager business printing with Hewlett
    Packard (HP) Canada and added that the color laser printer market saw
    tremendous growth this year.Brad Hughes, a research analyst with IDC
    Canada, noted that the color laser market grew about 88 per cent this
    year and predicts around a 60 per cent growth for 2007. “Prices have
    come down quite a bit and people see value, communication-wise, of
    using color laser [printers] than inkjet as it is less intensive,” said
    Hughes.Carolyn Varady, product marketing analyst of imaging systems
    group with Canon Canada, added that people understand the concept that
    color helps improve recognition but the issue is explaining to IT
    professionals and office administrators how color is easy to implement
    into their workflow.”People are scared of the cost runaway of color but
    there are a lot of different ways to limit who has access to color and
    also teach them how bringing color in-house is a lot more
    cost-effective than sending it out,” she said.When it comes to color
    laser multi-function printers (MFPs), Hughes noted that HP led the
    market in the retail and the small- and medium-sized business space
    with about 21,000 units shipped in Canada during the first three
    quarters of the year. Xerox, Ricoh, Brother and Canon followed closely
    behind HP.The only category that HP didn’t lead in units shipped during
    2006 was monochrome laser MFPs, where 880,000 units where shipped
    during the first three quarters of 2006.”It is a very fast growing
    market and [Brother] has seen 14 consecutive quarters of growth as
    businesses replaces its printers with MFPs. This is an upswing in that
    market [and] a nice place to be, if concentrating on it,” said
    Hughes.The movement towards MFPs and all-in-one units was another big
    trend that most of the printer vendors took notice this year.”[We've]
    seen definite progression of individuals and consumers buying
    all-in-ones instead of single function technology,” said Natalia Case,
    category business manager for consumer inkjet printers of HP
    Canada.Hughes added that the single-function printer inkjet market is
    steadily declining with inkjet color MFPs taking over with about
    550,000 units being shipped for the first three quarters of this year.
    HP dominated this category with about 51 per cent market share followed
    by Canon at about 24 per cent and then Lexmark at about 12 per cent.”18
    months ago the shipments of MFPs were equal to that of single-function
    printers. Now we are seeing twice as many MFPs as single function
    printers being sold in the inkjet realm in the last couple of quarters.
    The price points of MFPs have come down where there is a $20 difference
    between a printer and a MFP so why not move up and get the extra
    functionality,” said the IDC analyst.Andrew Kiss, manager of marketing
    communications with Lexmark Canada Inc. said the growth he’s seen in
    the all-in-one market is staggering.”[One of] the reasons is we wind up
    with more small offices wanting to combine technologies and don’t want
    separate devices,” he added.For 2007, Hughes expects the demand for
    single-function printers to decline and believes it will become more of
    a niche product for high-end photography or specialized business tasks.

    What else will 2007 bring?
    to the major printer vendors, it is more of the same with all of the
    companies focusing on bringing products to market that will continue on
    the trend of color printing and MFPs.”Any manufacturer that wants to
    remain competitive knows that color is where we are going with all
    categories of products,” said Marc Ruel, products specialist at Brother
    Canada.Hughes added that 2007 will be an interesting year for printers
    due to HP releasing an entry-level color ink machine that is said to
    rival the speeds of a laser printer.”As far as everything else, inkjet
    and lower-end laser machines are going to dominate. [Also] a lot of
    opportunities [exist] when it comes to [helping] customers who want a
    solution than just a printer. This is where resellers and dealers are
    going to do well as more money will be spent on services, software and
    support and not just hardware itself,” he said.