According to research by International Data Corporation (IDC), the Western European printer and multifunction (MFP) market decreased by 6.1% in unit terms in 1Q19 compared with the same period a year ago to give a market size of 4.13 million units. This meant the overall market declined year on year by 268K units, but price declines steadied and the value remained flat for revenues of €2 billion. This gives a 1H19 market size of 8.54 million units and a value of €4 billion.
Overall inkjet shipments continued to decline as home printing continues to contract at a faster rate than business injects increased. The consumer market contracted by 6.0%, while business inkjet shipments increased by 2.2% with particularly strong growth rates in some countries and segments such as A3.
The overall laser market declined by 2.1%, largely due to very poor results in the UK as half of the countries in Western Europe showed an increase. Growth in laser was largely due to increased A4 colour and monochrome MFP shipments, but the A3 monochrome MFP also showed a surprise growth rate, mainly due to tender activity. Monochrome A4 printer shipments contracted by almost a tenth but remained the largest individual laser segment.
High speed inkjet shipments dipped slightly while serial impact dot matrix shipments declined heavily. "Poor shipments in some countries such as the UK and the Netherlands dragged the overall Western Europe market down, but some countries such as Italy and Sweden did show growth", said Phil Sargeant, program director in IDC's Western European Imaging, Hardware Devices, and Document Solutions group. "In 2019, we have already seen some quite erratic growth patterns across geographies, and IDC expects this to continue over the next few quarters as many of the major macroeconomic factors continue to have a heavy impact on the hardcopy industry."
The overall Western European hardcopy market contracted by 6.1% year on year in 2Q19, recording a shipment figure of 4.13 million units, while value declined by 1.1%.
Business inkjet shipments increased 2.2%, while consumer inkjets declined by 6.0%.
The laser markets bounced back and increased by 2.1%, with particular growth from the A4 MFP markets, while A3 remain relatively flat.
Growth patterns across countries showed a wide degree of variance, indicating that there are many factors impacting the market.
Main Country Highlights
Growth patterns across Western Europe were quite varied in 2Q19 as some of the smaller country markets improved and some of the major markets struggled in some areas. The main country highlights are as follows:
Germany: the German market contracted for the second quarter in a row, this time by 3.7%, but the country remained the largest market. Laser markets declined by 4.6% but there was growth from colour, especially A4 MFP, though monochrome suffered. One other bright spot in Germany was the growth of business inkjet shipments, especially in the A3 segment. Consumer inkjets continued to decline.
France: the French market overall contracted by 2.5% and this was largely due to the decline in consumer inkjets. Overall laser shipments increased as A4 and A3 colour MFP shipments continued to grow but as with Germany the monochrome markets fell. Business inkjets increased at a rate higher than the Western European average. Consumer inkjets continued to slide.
United Kingdom: the UK was one of the worst performing countries, with overall shipments down by 18.9% and both laser and inkjets declining at similar double-digit rates. This meant that the U.K.'s overall shipments declined by over 150,000 year on year.
Italy: the Italian market increased for the second quarter in a row, with increases seen in laser markets and business inkjets, with the latter increasing by double-digit figures. Consumer inkjets remained popular as the Italian market bucked the trend by showing an increase. Overall Italian shipments increased by 3.5%.
Spain: Spain contracted at a rate similar to the Western European markets. Its decline of 5.2% can be mainly attributed to falling consumer markets, and to some extent the laser markets showed a slight contraction. Business inkjets did show an increase for both A4 And A3 formats.