Printer market soars

Although the “back to school” season is generally strong in the printer industry, few could have predicted the spectacular performance of the manufacturers in 2003. Vendors shipped more than 771,000 printers in the third quarter this year. Compared with the same period in 2002, vendors collectively

increased shipments by a phenomenal 42 per cent. Moreover, the volume was 24 per cent greater than Evans Research Corp. had forecast for the quarter. Ultimately, what this means is that the printer market in Canada is likely to be considerably higher than the original annual estimate of 2,325,000 units.

Aside from the colour laser segment, the vendors outperformed expectations in all market segments. Topping the segments from a year over year standpoint was the MFP segment which was up a whopping 178 per cent compared with shipments in the same period of 2002. Combined shipments of inkjet- and laser-based MFPs were 279,000 units, which was 24 per cent above what ERC had forecast for the quarter.

Single function mono lasers totaled 83,800 units, which was up 33 per cent over the same period last year and 16 per cent higher than expected.

The single function inkjet market is unquestionably on a slide given the phenomenal popularity of their MFP cousins. Nonetheless, shipments were actually up by eight per cent compared with 2002 and 28 per cent higher than anticipated.

The dot matrix is also declining on an annual basis, albeit with a significantly less severe slope than with inkjets. Shipments were down 14 per cent from the same period in 2002 but the volume was still 24 per cent greater than forecast for the quarter.

As mentioned earlier, the only segment to fall short of ERC’s predictions for the third quarter of 2003 was the colour laser market. Still, despite being 10 per cent below the total ERC had expected, the tally of 4,330 units was actually three per cent greater than shipments over the same period in 2002.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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