Weak economy continues to impact North America office equipment market in 2012

Barbara Richards
Mar 29, 2013

Overall, slow economic growth in both the U.S. and Canada continued to impact the North America office equipment market in 2012. Total unit shipments of all office single function printers and MFPs declined 10.6% year over year; this figure includes all technologies: laser, inkjet, and impact. Once again, HP held the number one market share position in 2012 with 50.1% of the market. This was followed by Canon (14.8%) and Epson (10.4%).

Total North America single function printer and MFP inkjet market

Total North America inkjet unit shipments fell 12.2% year over year in 2012. The majority of decline came from the consumer inkjet segment of the market where unit shipments fell 15.3% year over year. Overall, this segment was impacted by several vendors exiting the market, as well as shifting buying habits within the SOHO environment as tablets and smartphones impacted end users’ purchasing and workflow habits. Business inkjet shipments also fell a bit in 2012, declining 4.5% year over year. Nevertheless, InfoTrends believes the business inkjet segment will experience growth in 2013 as economic conditions improve in North America and new page-wide array devices enter the market. While HP saw inkjet unit shipments fall 15.2% year over year, mainly due to sharp declines in consumer inkjet, they continue to be the market share leader with a 54.5% share of the inkjet market.

Total North America single function printer and MFP laser market

In 2012, total North America laser single function printer and MFP shipments fell 4.3% year over year. The majority of the decline was in single function printers where shipments dropped 4.8% year over year. The market continues to shift from single function devices to multifunction products and from monochrome to color engines. Total monochrome laser MFP shipments fell 8.3% year over year, whereas color laser MFP shipments grew 9.4% year over year.

Although 2012 was a challenging year for many vendors in the office equipment market, there were some bright spots; particularly the growth within the laser A4 color MFP segment, where unit shipments grew 23.9% year over year. The majority of growth was within Segment 1 color (11-20 pages per minute). In 2011, monochrome A4 MFPs accounted for roughly 87% of total A4 MFP shipments in this segment. By 2012, that number had dropped to 77.5%. As color laser MFPs have become more price competitive in the market, buying habits are shifting.

Nevertheless, on the whole 2012 remained a challenging year for many office equipment vendors. The North America office equipment market is for the most part a mature market; as such, InfoTrends forecasts overall unit shipments to be relatively flat in 2013. However, there are some opportunities for growth–particularly in the A4 color MFP and business inkjet segments, where entries of page-wide array inkjet devices may offer new revenue opportunities for vendors.

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