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A channel guide to selling printers - Part 1

For a market long predicted to be doomed, printing is looking remarkably good – albeit it’s a considerably different market place now.

Heather Wright takes a look at the new(er) face of printing in a four-part feature.

Colour printing at 100,000 dots per inch, 3D printers being used to construct a lightweight plastic exoskeleton, a liveable house and the next Mars rovers... printing has certainly garnered some interesting headlines in recent months.

But back on planet earth, it’s the more mundane issues of mobility, cost reduction and smooth workflow solutions which industry analysts IDC see as key trends driving the sector locally, with, yes, cloud-enabled product and services also beginning to play a hand.

“The printing industry is no longer a business that sells only the boxes; it includes solutions and services to enhance end users’ expectations,” notes Cheryl Looi, IDC Asia Pacific (ANZ) market analyst, who says security printing is also a key trend at the moment.

“The most recent [international] trend already has minor existence in the New Zealand market – the cloud enabled product and services,” Looi says.

“Most hardcopy vendors already have a road map on how they could leverage on cloud services to shift away from the traditional way of just selling a box and to extend its customer value proposition.

"However, there are a lot of concerns such as cost, collaboration with current IT systems and accessibility to information which hardcopy vendors need to address in order to gain more widespread adoption.”

Doing the math

IDC figures put Brother at the top of the printer market – laser and inkjet – in New Zealand, with 39%, followed by Canon on 24% and HP on 14%.

Last year, the analysts reported a flat year for the overall Australia and New Zealand printer market, with 2.6 million boxes sold, about the same as 2010 with natural disasters and weak consumer and business sentiment due to the global economic outlook impacting.

However, IDC predicted a recovery in 2012, with a 5% increase in overall printer sales predicted for the region this year.

“We expect multifunction inkjet printers and colour lasers to drive printer sales in 2012,” Looi says. “Aggressive price competition and more product refreshes will definitely continue as print vendors attempt to increase market share, benefiting end users.”

For the next installment visit Techday on Wednesday