India Multi Function Printer shipments overtake Single Function Printer shipments for the first time in JFM 2013 in the A4 segment

Overall India A4 printer shipments touch nearly 7.8 lakh units during the JFM 2013 quarter recording a marginal growth of 2% YoY

HP retains leadership position followed by Canon and Epson

For the first time in its history, the India A4 printer market was driven by sales (unit shipments) of Multi Function Printers (MFPs) during the January-March 2013 quarter. The contribution of Single Function Printers (SFPs) dropped from 53% to 49% in terms of overall A4 printer sales during the first quarter of calendar year 2013. This was revealed in the CyberMedia Research report CMR’s India Monthly A4 Printer Market Review, 1Q 2013, June 2013 release.

Table 1

In the overall India A4 printer market, HP maintained its leadership position with a 49% share in terms of sales followed by Canon with 16% and Epson at 13% during the period January-March 2013.

Technology

Inkjet A4 PrintersHP led the market with a 57% units share followed by Epson with 22% and Canon at 17%, respectively during 1Q (January-March) 2013. In spite of vendors investing large budgets on running promotional campaigns, inkjet printers, especially entry level single function printers could not sustain interest levels amongst the end user community.

Laser A4 Printers – HP retained the top spot with a 53% units share. Canon and Samsung grabbed the second and third places, respectively. Laser printer sales witnessed growth with enterprises increasingly opting for Laser MFPs. Increased levels of marketing activity by HP and others along with new entrants like Kyocera, Ricoh and Pantum is likely to help this market achieve strong growth in the next few quarters.

Dot Matrix Printers (DMPs) – Epson emerged the leader with a 53% unit share followed by TVSe and WeP. Although the DMP market has stagnated and declined over the years, it is likely to grow in 2013 as more deals are expected to close on account of government buying, which were almost absent in the second half of 2012. 2013 is the last full year before the general elections due in 2Q 2014. Hence, there is a possibility of increased government spending.

Table 2

Distribution and Pricing

Canon first created separate distribution partners for its inkjet and laser printer range in 2012, but rolled back this measure in 2013. This created a certain degree of confusion amongst the trade and channel partner community, due to which sales of Canon printers recorded a decline in the first quarter of 2013.

In the wake of strengthening of the US Dollar against the Indian Rupee, all printer vendors were forced to increase prices on two occasions in 2012. On the other hand, the price differential between Single Function Printers and Multi Function Printers became narrower, influencing a shift in the preference of both the consumer as well as the enterprise segment towards the latter category.

According to Sumanta Mukherjee, Lead Analyst, CMR InfoTech & Channels Practices, “The scale of print has become the key determinant for the choice of printer technology. Government and Enterprise segments have started adopting Multi Function Printers as these offer greater ease of use and help to consolidate multiple devices.”

“The demand for mid-level inkjet Multi Function Printers has started to increase compared to laser Single Function Printers. The key reason for this is that the cost per page for inkjet printers continues to register a decline”, Sumanta added.

Vendor Highlights

  • HP led the overall India A4 printer market with a 49% share and more than 3.8 lakh units shipped in 1Q 2013. In the inkjet Single Function Printer category, HP’s flagship model DJ 2000 reached end-of-life without a suitable replacement, leading to a possible loss of shipments for the vendor during 2H CY 2012. However, HP continues to remain aggressive in the Multi Function Printer segment; this is apparent from the fact that the company’s shipments proportion in this category increased to 55% of total shipments in 1Q 2013, while that for Single Function Printer segment declined to 45%.
  • Canon, the number two ranked vendor, captured 16% of the overall India A4 printer market in 1Q 2013, shipping 1.3 lakh units during the period. Canon lost share significantly in inkjet SFP and laser MFP categories in 1Q 2013 compared to 1Q 2012. This was due to uncertainty amongst channel partners and Canon’s laser MFP models being priced relatively higher vis-à-vis competition. Canon lost share in the laser MFP category to new vendors like Ricoh and Panasonic. This was further accentuated by the absence of Canon promotional campaigns and schemes in the laser MFP category during 1Q 2013.
  • Epson maintained its position amongst the top three vendors in the India A4 printer market in 1Q 2013 with a 13% share, notching up shipments of 1.05 lakh units. Epson was very aggressive by launching new products and giving schemes in the Inkjet category. With the launch of new products in both Inkjet SFP and Inkjet MFP categories, the vendor is expected to gain share in the coming years. The new Epson ME series and Epson M series were launched in India in 4Q 2012. These new Epson printers are positioned as a ‘very low cost per page’ range and aim to give a tough fight to competition laser printer models, especially in the SOHO and SMB segments.

New Entrants

Pantum entered the India A4 printer market with its laser printers designed for the SOHO and SMB segments. The brand boasts of being the first China-made laser printer.

Pantum is focusing on offering products at aggressive price points with advanced features of low power consumption and higher page print capacity. Pantum printers are priced mainly in the INR 4,001-6,500 range and are likely to give tough competition to the incumbent players in the forthcoming quarters.

Pantum appointed Rashi Peripherals as its distributor for the India market.

Stated Maninder Singh, Analyst, CMR InfoTech and Channels Practices, “Pantum has preferred to enter the India market gradually with presence in the laser SFP category but is expected to jump into the MFP space soon. However, due to lack of an established distribution channel, the vendor was not able to make a mark in the India A4 printer market during 1Q 2013. Pantum comes from the ‘House of Lenovo’ and the sheer possibility of sharing of distribution channels provides a very good route to increase market share rapidly.”

Ricoh and Kyocera – both strong players in the A3 Printer market, have entered the India A4 printer segment in May 2012. Both chose to use their office automation partners to distribute their A4 printers. However, due to lack of a dedicated distribution channel the vendors have not been able to make a mark so far.

Both Ricoh and Kyocera’s presence is predominantly in the ‘more than INR 11,001’ price range.

“Partner reactions indicate a lack of focus on the part of new A4 printer vendors to be the chief reason for their lack-lustre performance in the India printer market so far”, Maninder added further.

“While the new entrants are carefully attempting to tie up the most suitable distribution channel partners for the India market, their efforts are taking time to fructify and so far have not helped them achieve the desired numbers. This, in turn, has led to low interest amongst channel partners to stock these new brands,” Maninder concluded.

Notes for Editors

  1. CyberMedia Research (CMR) is a pioneering market intelligence and consulting firm that runs a comprehensive quarterly market update on the India Printers market since 1998. CMR’s India Quarterly A4 Printer Market Review compares A4 printer shipments and price points for the Inkjet SFP, Inkjet MFP, Laser SFP, Laser MFP and DMP segments.
  2. CMR uses the term “shipments” to describe the number of Printers leaving the factory premises for OEM sales or stocking by distributors and retailers. For the convenience of media, the term shipment has been replaced by ‘sales’ in the press release, but this reflects the market size in terms of units of Printers and not their absolute value. In the case of Printers imported into the country, it represents the number leaving the first warehouse to OEMs, distributors and retailers.
  3. CMR tracks shipments of Printers on a monthly basis. However, as per convention, the market size is reported on a calendar quarter basis; in all such cases this refers to an aggregated number for the three calendar months in the quarter to which the press release refers.

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