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EMEA hardcopy peripherals to steady as growth returns

Recovery from global recession through 2010 will allow  growth to return to EMEA, including the market for hardcopy peripherals. The prediction for this sector is made by IDC and forecasts CAGR of 7.6% for EMEA for 2010-2014.

The hardcopy peripherals (HCP) market in EMEA continues to stabilise and recover in the wake of the widespread negative growth experienced throughout 2009, according to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker. Looking forward, total HCP shipment volume in the EMEA region is set to increase by a brisk 7.6% CAGR over the long-range forecast period (2010–2014).

However, this relatively high growth rate must be seen in the context of an HCP market recovering from last year's low base of activity when overall HCP shipments contracted 15.1% from the 2008 market peak. IDC forecasts that shipment volume in EMEA will not reach 2008 levels until 2011, when the market is expected to total 46.8 million units.

"The exceptionally weak Western European economic environment which persisted throughout 2009 drove down print spending in the region, although IDC does predict a gradual recovery through 2010 provided that key economies return to positive GDP growth," said Julio Vial, Research Manager at IDC. "The Western European HCP market is maturing and some technologies will decline during the forecast period, eg, cannibalisation of printers by MFPs, especially in the inkjet segment."

Referring specifically to the single-function printer market, Julio Vial also said a key growth area would be the color laser-printer segment, though monochrome laser-printers will continue to be the dominant printer in the office. This last point is supported by IDC forecast data, which predicts that monochrome laser-printer shipments will total 8.4 million units in EMEA in 2014, compared with 2.9 million shipments for color laser-printers.

With specific reference to the fortunes of emerging markets in the Central Europe, Middle East, and Africa (CEMA) region, Mitri Roufka, Research Director at IDC, revealed areas of growth in the region when he pointed out that, "After five consecutive quarters of decline, HCP shipments in the CEMA region recorded year-on-year growth of 6.6% in 4Q09, while revenues saw a decline of 9.8%. The reason behind the different growth trends in units and revenues is the laser segment, where printer-based devices grew in 4Q09, while the more expensive copier-based devices continued to decline by more than 20% in unit and revenue terms, reflecting high price sensitivity."

Mitri Roufka said that despite this decline the two largest markets in CEMA - Russia and Turkey - both experienced strong growth in 4Q09, and the growth rate for the CEMA region as whole is 12.2% CAGR between 2009 and 2014.

Hardcopy vendors and OEM manufacturers will, of course, be relieved to see the HCP market growing once again in EMEA, but for continued success in this market participants must continue to understand and react to the diverse market features and dynamics affecting countries across the region.

Phil Sargeant, Research Manager at IDC's Western European head office in London, alluded to this when he said "growth will not be uniform in all countries, with more established economies such as Germany and France, which emerged earlier from the recession, seeing more solid growth as weaker economies remain fragile." He also said that one of the key challenges for vendors across the region would continue to be how to maintain profitability in the face of the intense price competition that has become prevalent in recent quarters and which is likely to continue through 2010.

By technology segment, IDC's latest EMEA forecast (2010–2014) also shows that:

* total MFP laser shipments as a share of total laser shipments will increase from 35.8% to 47.2% over the forecast period;

* the inkjet MFP segment will increase to 31.6 million unit shipments, or an upside CAGR of 7.7%;

* the color laser MFP segment will continue to grow its share, increasing from 1.5 million units in 2009 to 2.9 million over the forecast period;

* colour laser printers are set to show a CAGR of 13.6% from 1.9 million to 2.9 million units, with a key driver of sales proving to be price erosion and continuing commoditisation; and

* inkjet printers will decline by 7.1% CAGR to 3.1 million units as the product category continues its decline towards niche market.

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