The FINANCIAL -- The Western European printer and multifunction (MFP) markets grew 7.1% year on year in 1Q14 — the fourth quarter of continuous growth in the region, according to the latest Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker from International Data Corporation (IDC).
Shipments were 5.36 million units, which equates to growth of over 350,000 units compared with the same period in 2013. Market value also increased, to $2.66 billion, representing year-on-year growth of 1.7%. This was fuelled by strong growth in the color laser, color inkjet, and high-speed inkjet segments.
The market for MFPs continues to increase at the expense of the declining printer market. MFPs accounted for 78% of all shipments, with growth in inkjets and color laser markets. The printer market was mixed, with inkjet shipments slightly higher but color and monochrome laser markets contracting.
"A solid start to 2014 shows that the printer and MFP growth patterns are following the trends and forecasts made by IDC over recent quarters," said Phil Sargeant, program director of IDC's Western European Imaging Hardware Devices and Document Solutions group. "Commercial markets are showing strong demand for color laser products and business inkjets continue to exhibit strong growth patterns. SMB and enterprise customers are investing in printing and document management, while consumer markets also bucked the trend with higher year-on-year sales," he added.
The overall Western European hardcopy market increased year on year by 7.1% in 1Q14, with gains in both ink and laser markets. Total inkjet markets increased 13.4% in the first quarter of 2014 from the first quarter of 2013. Business inkjets showed the most year-on-year growth at 23.6% but consumer markets also bounced back. The overall laser market contracted as the decline in monochrome was greater than the increases for color, but the overall commercial or office markets increased when business inkjets are factored in. Overall printers declined 5.7% but there were pockets of growth such as high-speed inkjet production and labels and packaging production. Overall MFP shipments increased 11.3% but monochrome laser products declined as the switch to color intensified and business inkjets continue to be a threat. Serial impact dot matrix markets declined year on year by 7.9%, according to IDC.
The German market increased 4.3% year on year in 1Q14. Inkjet markets in the first quarter showed growth of 12.7% but laser markets contracted by 5.6%. The only laser area that increased in the first quarter was color MFP. The main growth in Germany was due to higher than expected inkjet shipments, with both consumer printers and MFP shipments increasing. Overall business inkjet shipments grew based on MFP devices, with a slight decline for printer models. Overall, the labels and packaging production market in Germany increased but high-speed inkjets showed a slight decline.
The French market increased strongly in 4Q13 and as a result growth in the first quarter of 2014 was minimal at 0.1%. The inkjet markets were the strongest as business inkjets increased 35.9% while consumer markets remained flat. Overall inkjets increased 3.2% but both color laser and monochrome laser shipments decreased with both printer and MFP markets declining, leading to an overall laser decline of 6.8%. The combined high-speed inkjet and labels and packaging production markets increased.
The U.K. showed one of the strongest growth patterns in 1Q14 with a recorded increase of 22.4%. The inkjet market increased very strongly with growth of 32.1% year on year, but it must be noted that the first quarter of 2013 was quite a poor quarter in contrast. Most growth was found in the consumer markets, while growth for business markets was more muted but still positive. Laser markets contracted by 1.4% as growth was only recorded in color and monochrome MFP markets and therefore the U.K. followed other countries in seeing printer markets contract. The high-speed inkjet production market in the U.K. was particularly strong when compared with other countries, and the labels and packaging production market also doubled when compared with 1Q13, according to IDC.