New name for Canon printers

A funny thing happened last November. Hewlett-Packard Canada Ltd. slipped slightly out of first place in the inkjet printer market only to recapture it the next month.

According to NPD Intelect research, Canon Canada had taken over the No. 1 spot, based on unit share, with 41 per cent over HP

with 35 per cent in November of 2003. The very next month HP roared back with 47 per cent unit share in inkjet printers to Canon’s 23 per cent.

The slip gave new hope to digital imaging manufacturer Canon, who this week announced a new brand name for its printers. The new name is Pixma and it will replace the company’s alphanumeric product naming system. The Pixma name combines the words pixel and maximum with the “”X”” signifying the link between input and output, the company said.

Ian MacFarlane, vice-president general manager of Canon Canada’s imaging group said the company had no choice but to make dramatic changes to is printer line up if they wanted to challenge HP in the market place.

“”We needed something in this market. It is fair to say that is why we came out with Pixma or else we were insignificant beyond HP who has market dominance,”” MacFarlane said.

The Pixma brand will encompass Canon’s inkjet and all-in-one printer lines, MacFarlane said.

The key to the Pixma strategy will be to compete in growing printer markets such as all-in-ones and photo printers. MacFarlane predicted that by mid-2005 Canon would again overtake HP in the market.

One analyst, Darryl Rice of NPD Intelect thinks Canon has a legitimate shot at achieving that goal.

“”Certainly now Canon’s product line is focused in the right area and they will be challenging HP in the market place,”” Rice said.

Rice added that photo printer growth from January to June of this year has grown 92 per cent overall from 2003. Unit volume growth in photo printers is up 136 per cent during that same time.

Even though Canon’s overall strategy is to be a digital imaging provider the company will still produce an entry-level all-in-one because the category is growing rapidly.

“”The market is growing in MFP (multi-function printers or all-in-ones),”” MacFarlane said. “”We challenge ourselves to be No. 1 in a growing segment. We got to do that. If you don’t you just give it to HP. We have no option, but no question it will be a tough road,”” MacFarlane added.

Pixma branded products will be released later on this month and in October.

Pixma products will be supported by an advertising campaign, whose purpose is to heighten brand awareness in the channel.

Currently, retailers such as Business Depot, Future Shop, Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Office Depot have been made aware of Pixma, but MacFarlane added that Canon will be going on the road to promote the Pixma brand to other dealers and resellers across Canada. The company has already started its tour with a stop in Toronto and will end it in Vancouver next week.

Canon will also leverage its Canon Imaging Academy to train its dealer network on Pixma branded products. Each year, the academy trains more than 1,000 dealers.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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