Office Printing – 2016 Highlights and 2017 Predictions and Trends

2017 Office Printing Industry Trends and Predictions

The office printing industry certainly saw some significant events in 2016, particularly in the area of company splits, industry acquisitions, and new entrees into the market:

  • Company splits at HP and Xerox
  • APEX acquisition of Lexmark
  • HP’s acquisition of Samsung’s printing business
  • Amazon enters the market
    • Dash program – for toner cartridge replenishment
    • Photo printing service

Although these were the most significant events impacting the office printing industry there were a number of others that also had a major impact.

  1. 3D printing – Both HP and Ricoh publically stated how strategically important 3D printing is to them as a way to offset shrinking office print revenues and operating profits due to continuing declines in office printer shipments and in page volumes which impacts printer consumables business. HP is making huge investments in their JetFusion technology but with a focus on industrial and manufacturing applications. HP is very serious about their future in 3D printing, so much so that they appointed Stephen Nigro as President of HP’s 3D printing business. HP is very focused on industrial/manufacturing applications selling products for up to $200K.

However, there are some industry leaders who are a bit more cautious, such as Autodesk’s CTO, Jeff Kowalski, who believe that there still exists a huge gap between hype and reality in the 3D market. He also feels the current generation of products are still not “plug and play” which many users really want. In his opinion, we need to have significant killer applications to really drive growth in the 3D market and they really don’t exist today.

  1. Increasing investments in e-document and digital workflow technology – companies such as Xerox are investing heavily in electronic document and workflow technologies to hedge against expected declining printer and page volumes.
  1. Growth in business inkjet market share – Although in absolute numbers, the business inkjet printer unit shipments and revenue accounted for a small portion of the overall inkjet printer market, the growth rate was significant and is expected to be significant as business inkjet printers (particularly the high speed pagewide offerings from HP (Office ProX and PageWide series), and CISS (Continuous Ink Supply Systems from the likes of Epson, Canon, and HP) continue to replace laser printers in the office, initially impacting the market share of color laser printers, and eventually the share of monochrome laser printers.  The business inkjet cartridge revenue is expected to exceed the consumer inkjet cartridge revenue by 2019!


2017 Office Printing Industry Trends and Predictions

  1. Overall office printer shipments and page volumes will continue to decline while users will keep the devices longer before replacing.
  1. Increasing impact of products using PWA (Page Wide Array) technology – HP expected to continue to grow the A3 segment market share with price/performance advantage.
  1. 3D printing will become mainstream – not so much in the consumer end of the market but in the commercial/industrial markets where reducing product development time will be the key benefit.
  1. Opportunities outside the “printer box” – printer manufacturers will continue to invest in technologies allowing them to penetrate markets outside of traditional office print market to help offset revenue and operating declines.
  1. More manufacturers will jump on the CIIS bandwagon.
  1. SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, CaaS, MaaS àXaaS (everything done on the Cloud)
  1. More sensors inside devices to monitor key components as part of movement to using Predictive Analytics to reduce support costs and down time.
  1. Print/document security will become more and more important as the average number of users/device continues to increase.
  1. HP will likely increase market share of its A3 and A4 PageWide devices against monochrome laser printers promoting “color for free.”
  1. 34 percent of MPS users will look at changing MPS providers or manage programs internally.

  1. Supplies will represent a larger share of a printer manufacturer’s revenue although

aftermarket cartridge share will increase.


  1. Financial pressures will reduce industry R&D spend forcing printer manufacturers to try to extend product lives.


  1. More industry consolidations including hardware and supplies manufacturers, software developers, and resellers.

Future Challenges for Printer Manufacturers

  1. Right size the organization based on the realities of declining printer shipments and page volumes of the imaging industry:
  • Reverse the downward trend in revenue and operating margin,
  • Look for opportunities “outside the office printer box,” i.e., commercial print, label printing, printing directly on durable goods other than paper,
  • Protect service and supplies business, and
  • Invest in electronic document/workflow technology.
  1. Build multi-year contracted MPS business:
  • Ideally support all devices in an enterprise (maintenance, supplies, etc.)
  • Example – 75 percent of Xerox’s business comes from annuity/contracted business with an average contract period of about 4 years.


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