The combined printer, copier, and multifunctional product (MFP) shipments market in 2008 in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) totaled 48.2 million units, a decline of 8.4% over 2007, according to Gartner, Inc.
"The fourth quarter of 2008 was a pivot point for the world economy, creating a very challenging selling environment for all printer, copier and MFP hardware and software providers. The rapidly deteriorating economic environment is forcing technology providers to look at their business models and make significant adjustments," said Tosh Prabhakar, senior research analyst at Gartner.
Gartner said buyers reduced printer and MFP spending in light of low confidence in the market. Sales of consumer devices were down 9% in 2008. In addition, businesses delayed product upgrades and/or cancelled investment in new office devices as budgets and cost containment policies became a priority.
According to Gartner, the tough economic climate will continue to have a detrimental impact on the consumer market during 2009, with similar declines expected. "Businesses are holding back on investment of new office equipment," Prabhakar said. "However, these businesses should instead consider adopting strategic and deployment alternatives such as managed print services (MPS), smart MFP and fleet document management systems to help better control costs and better manage their office devices with cost optimisation in mind."
Most vendors suffered in 2008. Hewlett-Packard remained market leader in the overall EMEA printer; copier, and MFP market, but sales were down almost 11% in 2008. Lexmark experienced the greatest unit losses during the year as it continued to lose market share as a result of it shifting its focus to the more profitable high-end workgroup space. Samsung Electronics posted the highest year-on-year market growth with a 16.3% increase in 2008, which helped it maintain second position in the page market and narrow the gap on Hewlett-Packard.
Prabhakar said, "The print market will continue to feel the pressure during the next 12 months, as the economic uncertainty worsens. A worst-case scenario will be that both unit shipments and end-user spending will be lower than in 2008 and that recovery should not be expected to start until early 2010."
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