Opportunities Outside the Office Printer Box

June 2017 Executive Advisor
Ron Iversen, VP Market Intelligence

With continued declines of office printer shipments, printer installed base, page volumes, and resulting operating profits for most printer manufacturing and resellers, it is not surprising that they are looking at opportunities outside the “office printer box”.   Yes, the worldwide office printer market is large ($142B including hardware, cartridges, and media) but it is a shrinking market.

Today, most of the major office printer manufacturers are participating in the commercial print market with both cut sheet and web press models using a combination of laser and inkjet technologies in attempt to capture commercial pages from traditional offset press manufacturer.    The output from these digital presses isn’t just about printing on office like commercial print media, these presses are printing labels, foldable cartons, photo books, newspapers, magazines, books etc.

More recently, manufactures such as HP and Ricoh are counting the huge potential for 3D printing to hopefully more than offset the declines in the traditional office printing market.  Several companies estimated the 3D printing market to be $6.5B in 2016 and growing to $28B by 2022 (34% CAGR)!

Similarly, Xerox and other printer manufacturers are looking at the future of printing directly on durable goods eliminating the need for labels.  This is all about personalization of durable goods whether soda cans/bottles or whatever.  Ball manufacturing, one of the largest producers of aluminum cans, is heavily engaged in personalized containers using industrial inkjet printing technology.

A number of printer manufacturers are already offering wide format printer to address the many CAD and Graphics markets for large format output.  New inks and media are driving new applications such as textiles, flooring, vehicle wraps etc.  Wide format flat bed printers add the additional benefit of printing directly on the object whether wood, Styrofoam or whatever.  Traditional office printer manufacturers such as HP, Epson, Xerox, and Ricoh offer wide format printers today.   It is estimated that the wide format printer market will exceed $8B by 2022.

There are other opportunities to consider that are outside the office printer box including bar code printing, label printing, ID card printing, and specialty printing where traditional office printer manufacturers do not really focus (Canon Finetech group is one exception), with some markets ripe for a transition to inkjet technology.

  • Bar code printing – $3.8B market in 2016 with shipments of 3.8B units, growing to $4.8B by 2022, 9% CAGR
  • ID card printing – estimated $72B market by 2019
  • Label printing – estimated $43B market by 2021, 5% CAGR
  • Specialty printing – printing on tubing, piping, PVC, circuit boards etc.

The total market potential or all of these markets outside the office printer market exceeds that of the office print market, and, therefore; certainly represents opportunities that could be interesting to printer manufacturers.   Resellers and MPS Service providers are seriously looking at these new opportunities to offset declines in their traditional office print business.  For MPS providers, why not include all types of printing devices in an enterprise in your MPS contracts?  If you are a printer manufacturer and you have a status quo strategy waiting for the office printer market to get better, you will likely be disappointed with your competitors looking at you in their rear view mirrors.


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