4th-Quarter Worldwide Hardcopy Peripheral Shipments Highest Since 2007, Reports IDC

The worldwide hardcopy peripherals market enjoyed record shipments in fourth-quarter 2010, with vendors shipping more than 36.5 million units, up 7 percent versus fourth-quarter 2009, according to market-research firm International Data Corporation’s Worldwide Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker. IDC notes that this is the highest number of shipments since the fourth quarter of 2007. At the same time, MFPs continued to win out over single-function devices, with MFPs accounting for 67 percent of shipments, up four points from the previous quarter. Note that IDC uses the term “hardcopy peripherals” to refer to single-function printers, printer-based MFPs, and single-function digital copiers.

According to IDC’s Phuong Hang, program manager for the firm’s Worldwide Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker, the worst is over for the hardcopy market, “It’s time for the market to return to normal. For 2011, we anticipate that the recovery will continue at a slow and steady pace. The return to growth will not be uniform across all countries and segments; developed regions are expected to show gradual or steadier activity, while developing regions are projected to show faster and higher growth levels.”

As is usual, the top three vendors—Hewlett-Packard, Canon, and Epson—continued to capture the lion’s share of the market, with more than 75 percent share of the total market in fourth-quarter 2010. HP shipped 15.5 million units in the fourth quarter, and enjoyed the highest year-over-year growth of 10 percent, followed by Canon’s 5 percent, and Epson’s 2 percent. IDC says that with the exception of Western Europe, HP enjoyed positive year-over-year growth across all regions.

Technology Highlights

  • Ink-jet systems remains the dominant technology in the overall hardcopy peripherals market, with close to 24.5 million units shipped, representing 67 percent share, reports IDC. The fourth quarter saw year-over-year ink-jet declines in the Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) (APeJ), Middle East & Africa (MEA), and Western Europe markets. The highest year-over year-growth was observed in Latin America at 16 percent.
  • Fourth-quarter 2010 marked the highest number of laser units shipped, with close to 11 million units shipped. All regions recorded year-over-year growth for laser shipments, with Latin America leading the way with 35 percent growth, and Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) at 25 percent.
  • Monochrome laser shipments accounted for 83 percent of the laser market, with 9 million monochrome units shipped in fourth-quarter 2010. Although the market is transitioning to MFPs versus single-functions unit, monochrome laser printers remain the most prolific type of laser in the office with close to 5.6 million units.
  • Color-laser unit shipments grew 10 percent year-over-year to over 1.8 million units, resulting in 17 percent share in the total laser market in fourth-quarter 2010. IDC says color laser MFPs continues to show signs of expansion, and increased its share in the color laser space by over two points to 48 percent versus the previous quarter.

Regional Highlights

  • United States – The United States came in second to Western Europe with 22 percent market share and 5 percent year-over-year growth, with modest year-over-year growth of 5 percent for laser technology. Ink-jet shipments also recorded a 5 percent year-over-year gain with more than 6.6 million units shipped during the quarter.
  • Western Europe – After losing out to the APeJ region during the past two quarters, Western Europe regained its status as the number-one region for total hardcopy shipments in fourth-quarter 2010, with more than 8 million units shipped. The region grew 2 points for 23 percent share in the worldwide hardcopy peripherals market compared to the previous quarter. IDC says that this positive trend was driven by the stronger year-over-year growth in laser technology—10 percent versus 1 percent for ink-jet systems.
  • Central Eastern Europe & Middle East and Africa (CEMA) – The region accounted for 14 percent share of the worldwide market with close to 5 million units shipped, and exhibited 8 percent year-over-year growth. Double-digit growth in Central & Eastern Europe fueled the high growth in the region. Despite year-over-year growth of –2 percent, ink-jet shipments regained the top spot in the region after losing out to monochrome laser during third-quarter 2010, with close to 2.5 million units shipped and with 50 percent market share. The laser segment increased 22 percent year-over-year to more than 2.3 million units shipped in the quarter.
  • Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) (APeJ) – For the first time in 2010, APeJ lost its top spot to become the number-three region in the world in terms of hardcopy-peripheral shipments. Despite posting 11 percent year-over-year growth in fourth-quarter 2010, the region lost 4 points for 22 percent share in the worldwide market. APeJ continues to be the top ranked region in the worldwide laser market, with 30 percent of total shipments, while its ink-jet shipments ranked third with 15 percent share in the total ink-jet market. Notably, for the first time ever, Canon inched past HP and achieved the number-one ranking in the APeJ ink-jet market.
  • Japan – Japan moved up one spot to become the number-six region in fourth-quarter 2010. Japan accounts for 8 percent share of the worldwide market, with close to 2.8 million units shipped, and the region posted 5 percent shipment growth versus fourth-quarter 2009.  The ink-jet segment grew 3 percent year-over-year to close to 2.4 million units shipped in fourth-quarter 2010. According to IDC, the last quarter of the year is consistently the highest volume quarter for ink-jet shipments as consumers purchase devices to print and send New Year’s cards to family and friends. Driven by high demand in the small and mid-size (SMB) segment, fourth-quarter came in with strong results in the laser space, resulting in more than 380,000 units shipped and 17 percent year-over-year growth.

Vendor Highlights

  • In terms of worldwide shipments, HP continues to remain the market leader, with 42.1 percent worldwide market share. It dominated the market with over 15.5 million units shipped in fourth-quarter 2010, the highest quarterly shipment since fourth-quarter 2007. HP’s shipments grew 10 percent year-over-year, the highest year-over-year trend among the top five vendors. With the exception of the Western European ink-jet market, HP showed year-over-year gains across all regions in both ink-jet and laser segments during fourth-quarter 2010, and closed out the year by posting 15.6 percent year-over-year growth for the full year and outperforming the market average by nearly 4 points.
  • Despite having the highest shipments ever, Canon finished a distant second to HP overall with close to 6.9 million units (versus HP’s 15.5 million) and 18.8 percent share in the total hardcopy peripherals market in the fourth quarter. During fourth-quarter 2010, Canon shipments grew 5 percent year-over-year, gained 2 points in market share sequentially, and remained unchanged from a year ago. As noted previously, fourth-quarter 2010 marked the first time ever that Canon inched past HP and achieved the number-one ranking in the APeJ inkjet market. While achieving stellar results in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) with 1.4 million units, Canon’s ink-jet segment only grew 1 percent year-over-year. Laser technology, on the other hand, enjoyed double-digit growth across most regions and resulted in 24 percent year-over-year increase. Canon finished the full year 2010 with 7.5 percent year-over-year growth in total shipments, nearly 5 points below the market average of 12 percent growth.
  • Epson held the number-three position overall in fourth-quarter 2010, shipping more than 5.5 million units, for 2 percent year-over-year growth. While showing an increase year-over-year, Epson declined 1 point from a year ago to 15.2 percent market share. Canada and the United States were Epson’s best-performing regions, with 46 percent and 30 percent year-over-year growth respectively. Epson finished 2010 with 9.7 percent year-over-year growth. Once again, Canada and the United States were among its top-three regions in 2010, with 41 percent and 14 percent growth respectively. Latin America was Epson’s best performing region for the full year, with 45 percent year-over-year growth.
  • Brother moved up one spot from last quarter, and in fourth-quarter 2010 was the fourth-ranked vendor in the worldwide hardcopy market with 5.1 percent share and close to 2 million units shipped. Brother’s shipments grew 8 percent year-over-year in fourth-quarter 2010, due to its stronger gains in the laser segment—16 percent versus 1 percent for ink-jet. Latin America was Brother’s best performing region in fourth-quarter 2010 for laser shipments, with 94 percent year-over-year growth, followed by 57 percent in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) and 46 percent in the Middle East and Africa. Despite posting significant growth in laser shipments, Brother’s 5.5 percent year-over-year increase for full-year 2010 was below the market average of 12 percent.
  • While having its highest shipments ever, Samsung dropped one spot from last quarter to the number-five position in the total hardcopy peripherals market. Samsung grew 3 percent year-over-year during fourth-quarter 2010, resulting in more than 1.7 million units shipped and 4.8 percent market share. IDC states that Samsung’s fourth-quarter 2010 performance was aided by its positive growth in Western Europe and Latin America, which grew 22 percent and 28 percent respectively. The United States was Samsung’s worst performing region in fourth-quarter 2010, with a –34 percent year-over-year trend. Overall, Samsung outperformed the market by posting 28.2% year-over-year growth for full-year 2010.

For more on IDC’s report, visit Worldwide Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker.