Sunday, March 22, 2009

Printer Market Q4 2008: News That Isn't Fit To Print

By Michele Masterson, ChannelWeb
2:35 PM EDT Mon. Mar. 16, 2009

The combined market for printers, copiers and multifunction devices continued its downward spiral in the fourth quarter of 2008, according to a new report.

Once again, the sour economy is blamed for the decrease, as both the consumer and the professional market shunned purchases.

In total, combined shipments fell 5.9 percent in 2008, compared with 2.9 percent growth in 2007, researchers at Gartner said.

Worse still, analysts said they don't expect the market to recover until sometime in 2010 as economic uncertainty continues.

"The strong economic recession that is gripping the most mature markets showed its impact on the printer, copier and MFP industry in North America during the fourth quarter," Gartner said in a report released last week. "Businesses put the brakes on major purchases, a trend not likely to improve in the next several quarters."

In North America, deceleration in the professional segment of the market led to a 25.3 percent sales decline of page printers, copiers and MFPs during the quarter, as both businesses and channels slowed purchases.

Shipments of page printers declined 28.5 percent during the quarter, led by a 29.9 percent drop in monochrome devices and 23.5 percent in color units.

"Some of this volume is clearly coming under pressure from a tight economy, where typical three-year replacement cycles are being extended," Gartner noted.

Color page printer shipments have decreased for three consecutive quarters, Gartner said.

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