According to the latest releases from the IDC (International Data Corporation), hardcopy markets (they look at A4/Letter up to A2) are starting to improve. Or at least, they're getting worse more slowly.
Worldwide there has been the smallest overall decline since 2011, and some countries are showing substantial growth in the segments we are most interested in. The second quarter of 2013 was the first since 2010 where shipments actually increased in both the USA (+1.4%) and Western Europe (+3.9%).
Inkjet market values are at best stable, and business machines are leading the revivial, with small rises in inkjet MFP sales and some substantial improvements in laser equipment markets. Factors for the improving situation are the explosion of digital content coupled with the requirement to print it and to contribute to it from mobile devices, initiatives such as managed print services and increasing security and regulatory compliance considerations which both bring poressure to modernize fleets.
Worldwide, the color laser market showed 9.7% year-on-year growth in the second quarter of 2013. Laser MFP growth is running at twice that of laser printers.
However, whilst shipments are returning to positive growth, the same cannot be said for margins. Technical progress and the worldwide recession have hit margins, and these continue to shrink. We suspect readers of DMO News items do not need to be told this. In Europe 4.69 mio units were shipped in Q2 of 2013, up on 4.5 in the same period of 2012. Depressing margins meant that this increase actually translates into a decrease in value of 3.3%.
Europe as a whole showed double-digit year-on-year growth in laser markets, though this is by no means even across the EU. France dipped by 1.6% overall (and down 5.2% for monochrome laser devices) whereas German sales leapt up by 29%.