Bulk Toner Shipments Continue to Increase

Surprisingly with all of the talk about the demise of the hardcopy industry, the bulk toner market is expected to have steady growth, according to the Photizo Supplies Advisory Service Media Forecast Update. One of the reasons for this is the movement to color multifunction printers (MFPs) and monochrome MFPs that show worldwide bulk toner shipment will increase 16.6 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively from 2012 to 2013 (see Figure 1). The combination of bulk toner required for color printers and MFPs will draw even with monochrome printers and monochrome MFPs in 2015. Beginning in 2016 it is expected there will be more worldwide toner shipments for color devices than for monochrome devices.

io360_Fig 1 bt fpThe losers in this forecast are the color and monochrome single function printer’s bulk toner requirements.  Color laser printer bulk toner shipments will decline 0.1 percent from 2012 to 2013 and monochrome laser printer bulk toner shipments will decline 2.7 percent over the same period as more users enjoy the functions and conveniences of MFPs.

Worldwide revenue will increase to $5.5 billion in 2013 driven by a 17.3 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for color MFPs.

By Segment

Photizo divides the bulk toner forecast into four segments: color printers, color MFPs, monochrome printers, and monochrome MFPs. In 2012, the monochrome MFP segment was the largest with shipments of 72.1 millions kilograms, followed by color MFPs at 71.6 million kilograms, monochrome printers at 54.2 million kilograms, and finally color printers at 22.1 million kilograms.

Photizo anticipates a shift will occur between the top two places in the near future where the shipments for bulk toner for color MFPs will move ahead of monochrome MFPs and become the largest segment. Monochrome MFPs bulk toner shipments will rise, followed by monochrome printers, and color printers. This indicates that buyers seeking greater efficiency and cost-savings are replacing older monochrome printers and MFPs with color MFPs that feature wireless and mobile access. Also, the movement of bringing print jobs back in-house because of a lower cost per page has been occurring.

Bulk toner will continue to increase. Its growth rates are a result of:

  • The greater use of color devices that have four separate colors: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black;
  • MPS contracts will result in fewer pages being printed overall, however, there is a base of information that must be printed resulting in continued demand for toner; and
  • As mentioned above, commercial printers handled high-volume print jobs, but today businesses are using short-run, in-house printing resulting in some additional office page volume increases.

Our View

OEMs and remanufacturers use bulk toner to fill toner containers mainly used by Segment 5 and Segment 6 devices. One key point through all of this is that color will remain mostly manufactured by OEMs because there are no aftermarket players doing chemical toner at the present time, which provides the best technology for color toner. However, if there is a breakthrough for remanufacturers, then the market could substantially change.

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