*NEWS*2004-A GREAT YEAR 4 TONER SUPPLIES

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*NEWS*2004-A GREAT YEAR 4 TONER SUPPLIES

 user 2005-02-02 at 9:57:00 am Views: 89
  • #10025
    Year in Review: 2004—A Great Year for Supplies
    From The Hard Copy Supplies Journal,January 2005, Lyra Research, Inc.
    The year 2004 was another good one for sales of printer consumables. Worldwide revenue from sales of marking and media supplies totaled more than $88 billion, up 7.6 percent compared with 2003. What is all the more impressive is that this growth came despite price declines in certain areas. Marking supplies revenue grew more rapidly than media revenue. Worldwide revenue from sales of marking supplies grew from $41.5 billion in 2003 to $45.8 billion in 2004, a 10.3 increase, led by a 36 percent increase in sales of color toner and a 10 percent increase in sales of ink jet cartridges. In contrast, media revenue grew only 4.8 percent between 2003 and 2004 due to declines in the price of paper and fierce competition in the coated ink jet paper market. (Note that shipment and revenue numbers are projections for 2004 based upon the second-half 2004 forecast)

    Digital photography came into its own in 2004, and the market for digital photo printers sorted into three segments: 4 × 6-inch snapshot printers; high-end six-, seven-, and eight-ink printers; and photo MFPs. Canon, Dell, Epson, HP, Kodak, Olympus, and Sony all announced 4 × 6-inch photo printers with an emphasis on ease of use and low cost per print. Epson started the trend toward lower print costs with its PictureMate, which has a cost per print of 29 cents. HP followed suit, offering bundled supplies packages for its compact Photosmart printers that brought the cost per print as low as 26 cents. Dell even managed to bring the cost of dye-sub prints below 40 cents. At the high end, Canon announced its PIXMA series of printers with drop sizes as small as 1 picoliter and breathtaking eight-ink color, while HP announced new cartridges with double the nozzle count of its previous cartridges and Vivera-branded inks that are guaranteed to last more than 100 years when printed on HP-branded paper. Lexmark announced an entire new set of ink cartridges and joined the branding game by announcing its EverColor brand of inks with a unique feature—the photo inks are pigment-based while the tricolor inks are dye-based. All of the market players introduced photo MFPs with memory-card slots, PictBridge capability, and high-resolution scanners and scanning software. As for general-purpose printers, there is not an ink jet printer on the market today, even at the sub-$50 level, that can’t print silver-halide-quality photos when used with the proper photo paper.

    Speaking of photo paper, 2004 was the year that Kodak announced a breakthrough in coating technology with its Ultima picture paper with ColorLast technology, a coating that the firm claims provides an image life of more than 100 years when the paper is used with most current ink jet printer models. In making this image-life claim, Kodak went even further than its competitors by stating that its paper is immune not only to light fade but also to heat, humidity, and gas fading. Although competing industry players grouse that Kodak does not use industry-standard test methods to test for print life, Kodak has at least created more awareness of print-life issues. We hope that the coming years will bring general industry agreement on an ISO standard for measuring print life.