Print channel bottoms out and picks up

Beancounters at Context are predicting a long term improvement in the print channel after revenue sales through distribution of business printers across Europe were higher than consumer device sales last month.

Laser single function (SFP) printers were driving those sales, with the performance of inkjet hindered slightly by the shortages that have swashed around that market in recent months. Price increases have also bled into entry-level business and consumer printer prices, and that has also seen revenue improvements year on year

SMEs have been buying mid-to high-level products to support office reopening, which has had a positive impact on comparisons with last year’s revenue figures.

Context Analsyst Antonio Talia said that while volume sales for both business and consumer printers were lower over this period compared to a year ago, business volumes fell at a slower rate.

“Revenues increased thanks to a different product mix, featuring more high-end devices, and price increases for entry-level and mid-range devices. The latter trend was influenced by a shortage of consumer printers in the same price range – especially laser SFPs – driving up the average selling price and overall revenue performance.”

The UK and Spain are the leading countries with upward-trending revenues in mid-January, which bodes well for the year ahead. Context said it is reasonable to assume that revenue in both countries will continue to trend above the 2021 average for the first half of 2022, boosted by business sales.

Throughout the pandemic, the print channel has been urged to look beyond simply relying on hardware and consumables to drive revenues because long-term changes are taking place in the market as customers move to a more digital world.

Context found further evidence of that with the average number of pages printed falling by three percent year on year in January. That was driven by the negative performance of toners,. Other consumables, ink cartridges and tanks, failed to offset that decline.