Unit sales of printer hardware across Western Europe (WE) continue to contract and were down by -2% year-on-year in Q4 2016, mainly driven by decline in sales of laser hardware, according to data published by CONTEXT, the European IT market analysis company. While distributors' sales of inkjet multifunction printers (MFPs) were flat for the quarter, those of laser hardware fell by -6%: sales of laser MFPs declined by -5% and laser SFPs saw sales drop by -7% – although this is an improvement on the double-digit declines last year. The shift from mono and single-function devices to colour and multifunction continues.
"Printer hardware distribution sales contracted across all major Western European countries except the UK in Q4 2016", said Zivile Brazdziunaite, Imaging Market Analyst at CONTEXT. "Multifunction laser and inkjet devices accounted for positive performance in the Retail and Corporate Reseller channels. In the UK, a shift towards higher-end devices, with enhanced functionalities led to an average selling price increase."
Over the quarter, Spain, Germany and Italy registered a slight decline in sales of printer hardware: -2% year-on-year. Sales in Spain fell due to particularly strong performance in the same quarter last year, and a delay in investments driven by uncertainty as a result of a period with no government in place. French distributors also registered declining sales – of -9% – driven by weak performance of multifunction devices. The negative performance of laser hardware over the quarter affected most vendors, except for Lexmark, Kyocera and Ricoh. Distribution of low-end laser SFPs to the Retail channel accounted for increases in Lexmark and Ricoh sales of +3% and +10% respectively in Q4 2016, while Kyocera registered a strong increase in sales to the Corporate Reseller channel. Over the quarter, HP continued to lead the market with a share of 34%, followed by Brother and Samsung with 19% and 15% respectively.