Printer sales continue to rise

The traditional end of financial year boost to sales has seen the total Australian printer market ship 470,000 units last quarter - a nine per cent increase quarter-on-quarter.

The total printer market, including inkjet single function and multifunction printers (MFP), single function laser and serial dot matrix (SDM) printers, saw growth of 12 per cent on a year-on-year comparison.

IDC Market Analyst for printers, LFPs and inkjet MFPs, Su-Lin Ng, said seasonality had seen vendors take the chance to make another move on the market.

“Vendors have really offered a lot of promotions such as bundling and cash-back offers this quarter,” she said. "The continuous drop in prices has definitely contributed to the overall increase in sales as well.”

Inkjet MFPs continue to be victorious in the battle against their single function counterparts, with shipped units jumping 23 per cent quarter-on-quarter. In contrast, inkjet single function unit shipments decreased by two per cent.

“Inkjet MFPs have continued to steal market share from inkjet single function printers, and are just short of 50 per cent share in the first half of 2004," Ng said. “It’s expected that this trend will continue as vendors shift their focus away from single function inkjets to drive the uptake of inkjet MFPs.”

Pricing and the increasing desire for photo printing functionalities offered with MFPs in the consumer and SOHO space would continue to see demand rise at a predicted growth rate of 60 per cent over 2004, Ng said.

Growth is also expected to spike in the laser printer market, Ng said.

Vendors in the colour laser space were becoming aggressive in pushing into the SME and corporate markets, she said, causing a surge of 30 per cent quarter on quarter.

“Vendors began this aggressive price-drop in the first quarter,” Ng said. “In the second quarter, they just continued to push greater demand –especially given the end of financial year.”

Demand for SDM printers over the quarter had been largely static, she said, despite a four per cent increase in units shipped again brought on by the end of financial year. Similarly, the mono laser printer market saw a mild increase in quarter-on-quarter unit sales of six per cent.

Growth opportunities for the following half-year would be stymied by uncertainties surrounding the upcoming federal election, Ng said. Any excess stock held by the channel after the end of financial year spike could also contribute to a slow in printer growth in the next quarter.

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