Con­tin­u­ing The Down­hill Road to A Doubt­ful Fu­ture

With the need to dig­i­tally trans­form ev­ery­thing and the pos­si­bil­i­ties which dig­i­tal­iza­tion of­fers, a slow­down and then an even­tual down­swing in the prin­ter mar­ket was very much ex­pected since past few years. Now with neg­a­tive growth, one can­not as­sume tha

Dataquest - - PRINTER -

As the world keeps mov­ing to­wards the fu­ture ev­ery sec­ond, it is no­table that dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy is tak­ing over with grad­ual de­vel­op­ments. Of­fice and home dig­i­tal­iza­tion has no doubt in­creased, not only in the present global sce­nario but in India also where we have our gov­ern­ment with one of its pri­mary fo­cus be­ing on dig­i­tal adop­tion.

Dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy has evolved so quickly that it has fun­da­men­tally changed the way world works now. It is a gen­eral fact that printed ma­te­ri­als like of­fice doc­u­ments, news­pa­pers and magazines are get­ting phased­out fol­low­ing the ever-ex­pand­ing dig­i­tal sphere. Con­sumers are no longer con­sum­ing in tra­di­tional ways hence em­ploy­ees are also no longer em­ployed to do their jobs the tra­di­tional way. This has led to an ex­treme slow­down in the prin­ter mar­ket since past few years.

As a reper­cus­sion and amid the gov­ern­ment’s push on Dig­i­tal India ini­tia­tive, the over­all prin­ter mar­ket in India reg­is­tered a neg­a­tive growth of 5%. It has plunged to 3,235 crore from last year’s rev­enue of 3,412 crore. The mar­ket has been go­ing through a rough patch ever since dig­i­tal be­came the new ne­ces­sity. The dip in rev­enues is be­com­ing in­evitable and is only grow­ing at large year by year.

Al­though one may feel that ev­ery­thing is turn­ing dig­i­tal but that is not the case when we talk about In­dian or­ga­ni­za­tions. Ma­jor­ity of in­dus­tries are still largely pa­per-driven in India. Yet, the lead­ing play­ers of the pa­per­driven mar­ket are fac­ing the dilemma of deal­ing with the in­creased im­por-

tance of dig­i­tal­iza­tion and the need of or­ga­ni­za­tions to ac­cess in­for­ma­tion any­time and any­where, with try­ing to keep the de­mand in­tact.

With the help of Cy­berMe­dia Re­search (CMR), Dataquest tried to ex­am­ine the mar­ket fig­ures of FY 201617. The es­ti­mates revealed that the over­all In­dian prin­ter mar­ket suf­fered a neg­a­tive growth of 5% this year. The de­mand was largely cen­tered on Inkjet Multi-Func­tion print­ers which rose above all as the only con­tender with pos­i­tive growth in the mar­ket.


A4 Inkjet Multi-Func­tion print­ers were the only growth driv­ers in the In­dian prin­ter mar­ket. Inkjet MFPs (Multi-func­tion Print­ers) stood tall and strong in the dig­i­tal age with an uptick of 19%. Ep­son is the leader with 52% mar­ket share, fol­lowed by HP with 33% and Canon with 12%, among other play­ers. The vendors have been forced to aban­don the tra­di­tional form of print­ers to stim­u­late the de­mand with cost-ef­fec­tive print­ing so­lu­tions to grow at pace with the dig­i­tal trends.

How­ever, the sin­gle-func­tion mar­ket is act­ing mo­tion­less com­pared to its multi-func­tion coun­ter­part. Even the Inkjet SFPs (Sin­gle Func­tion Print­ers) stood still with stag­nant growth. The fo­cus of the in­dus­tries has been on multi-func­tion Inkjets which lead to the slug­gish­ness of sin­gle-func­tion mar­ket. Ep­son is the def­i­nite leader in the SFPs with a ma­jor share of 92%, leav­ing HP and Canon way be­hind at 5 and 3 per­cent.


Laser prin­ter mar­ket, sin­gle or mul­ti­func­tion, is also in deep wa­ter. Mul­ti­func­tion wit­nessed 12% growth in 2015 but could not live up to the ex-

pec­ta­tions this year as it got only few tak­ers. The over­all multi-func­tion rev­enue slumped 9% with Sam­sung be­ing the last lead­ing player hav­ing only 7% share, Canon took 12% share, and HP largely dic­tated with 68% of the mar­ket share.

Whereas, sin­gle-func­tion laser prin­ter mar­ket man­aged to po­si­tion it­self just above sin­gle-func­tion Inkjet prin­ter mar­ket in the list of worst per­for­mance for FY 2016-17. Sin­gle­func­tion in laser de­clined a mas­sive 22% this year.


In FY 2015-16, the dot ma­trix seg­ment shrank 16% and the mar­ket con­tin­ues to sink as the rev­enues dropped from

205 crore to 148 crore in FY 201617, re­sult­ing in a hefty 28% nega- tive growth. In the dig­i­tal times, dot ma­trix is hav­ing the most dif­fi­culty in main­tain­ing its po­si­tion in the mar­ket among other print­ers. Yet, it is dif­fi­cult to sus­pect when this prin­ter seg­ment might seize to ex­ist com­pletely ow­ing to its loyal cus­tomers. Gov­ern­ment de­part­ments, of­fices, ATMs, POS and the re­tail space in India still use dot ma­trix for be­ing cheaper, tak­ing num­ber of copies, and ver­sa­til­ity of doc­u­ments which can be printed.


While multi-func­tion inkjet is the only sig­nif­i­cant player with a pos­i­tive growth in the prin­ter mar­ket, the over­all out­look seems dis­ap­point­ing as dig­i­tal is tak­ing over. Adop­tion of quick ser­vices through in­ter­net and ease of ac­cess is shap­ing a new di­men­sion which might re­sult in com­plete ter­mi­na­tion of print­ing busi­ness. In ad­di­tion, India is wit­ness­ing an un­prece­dented wave of dig­i­tal­iza­tion as the gov­ern­ment’s fo­cus to dig­i­tal­ize ev­ery­thing from a small doc­u­ment to huge pro­cesses is also af­fect­ing the print­ing in­dus­try in one way or the other. Dig­i­tal India is poised to trans­form the prin­ter in­dus­try as well.

There is no quick fix to these is­sues but there is per­haps ben­e­fit to look at them in a dif­fer­ent man­ner. Vendors can ex­plore the pos­si­bil­i­ties that dig­i­tal so­lu­tions can bring to their prod­ucts. At this junc­ture, it is im­por­tant for the prin­ter in­dus­try to step-up its com­pe­ten­cies and de­liv­ery ca­pa­bil­i­ties to meet the ex­pec­ta­tions of the dig­i­tal world.

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