Unit sales of printer hardware by IT distributors across Western Europe (WE) declined by -2% year-on-year in early Q3 2016, driven by the decrease in sales of multifunction printers (MFPs), according to data published by CONTEXT, the European IT market analysis company. "Sales of both inkjet and laser MFPs declined by -1% and -4% respectively, while sales of single-function laser printers (SFPs) stabilised, with flat performance over the period", said Zivile Brazdziunaite, Imaging Market Analyst at CONTEXT. Colour devices account for 35% of all laser hardware sold by IT distributors and sales of these did increase, registering year-on-year growth of +2%. By contrast, unit sales of mono laser hardware shrunk by -4% in early Q3 2016 as falling hardware prices and more affordable colour page rates result in a continuing switch from mono to colour devices.
There are significant differences in performance across countries. The number of printers sold through distributors in Germany declined by -14% year-on-year, mainly because of the weak performance of inkjet MFPs and a particularly strong increase in HP sales during the same period last year. However, printer sales in France and Spain were up by +8% and +19% respectively, and sales through distributors in Italy increased by +2%, driven mainly by increase in distribution sales of cheap consumer-targeted inkjets. In the UK performance mirrored that of the previous year and continued to decline, falling by -2% year-on-year in early Q3 2016.
Sales of HP printer hardware were up by +3%, driven mainly by strong performance of laser MFPs in the SMB and Multiple Retailer channels: distributor sales of HP business-targeted inkjets declined by -6% in early Q3 2016. Kyocera and Ricoh saw year-on-year unit sales growth across the region (+11% and +7% respectively) as a result of strong performance of their laser SFPs. Despite registering flat distribution sales when all the categories are combined, Epson saw unit sales of business-targeted inkjets increase by +16% year-on-year driven by their low-end home office Workforce series of printers sold to the Multiple Retailer channel.
Country break-down: Q3/2016 year-on-year