Continuing Decline in Western Europe Printer/MFP Market, But Inkjet Sees Uptick

According to research by market-research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), the Western European printer and copier/MFP market declined by 3.2 percent in unit terms in third-quarter 2017 compared with the same period a year ago. There were negative sales performances in both inkjet and laser markets for units, and value for the laser market was down too. According to IDC, the overall market has been in continuous decline since second quarter, except for a hopeful last quarter — and in third-quarter 2017. the quarter declined by 173,000 units to give a market of almost 5.1 million devices. This disappointing quarter is due to the decline in laser printing, but is relatively in line with forecasts. Revenues fell by 11.4 percent. Inkjet revenues, however, increased 9.6 percent due to strong A3 sales, while laser revenues fell by 15.2 percent.

Laser market shipments decreased by 7.9 percent in third-quarter 2017, and values decreased as well, indicating that prices are getting lower: a sharp contrast from the positive trend observed last year. ASPs (Asking Selling Price) for the laser market decreased by 15.2 percent in third-quarter 2017.

Business-inkjet shipments enjoyed slight growth after a persistent negative trend in the past five quarters, with shipments decreasing by 0.5 percent in third-quarter 2017. MFPs grew by 1.9 percent in volume but grew by 27 percent in value. Despite this, business-inkjet MFPs accounted for 90.3 percent of business inkjet shipments in third-quarter 2017, a 1.3 percent increase from last year.

Overall, MFP products accounted for 85.1 percent of all shipments in Western Europe in third-quarter 2017, compared with 83.3 percent in third-quarter 2016. Laser and inkjet MFPs decreased by 1.2 percent, while laser and inkjet printers showed an even stronger decline (13.6 percent), with shipments generally in line with IDC forecasts.

There was a significant decline in the business market in third-quarter 2017; comprising laser and business inkjet devices, the market decreased by 5.6 percent, with value declining by 12.7 percent. The highest value growth was in 31–44 ppm color devices and 45–69 ppm mono devices, showing that high-end devices are preferred by businesses.

“Despite a poor quarter for the Western European market, we see that high-speed laser devices have grown moderately,” said Delphine Carnet, senior research analyst in IDC’s Western European Imaging, Hardware Devices, and Document Solutions group. “It is in fact difficult to look at growth areas nowadays in the market as both the inkjet and laser segments are decreasing in Western Europe. Business inkjet and high-speed laser devices show a slight growth in the current bleak economic context.”

Main Highlights

  • The overall Western European hardcopy market fell by 3.2 percent year-over-year in third-quarter 2017, with laser increasing faster than inkjet.
  • Very few segments saw any growth this quarter, with A3 monochrome inkjet MFPs and A3 color laser MFPs both showing a slight growth in Western Europe.
  • Business inkjets grew by 0.5 percent, with printers decreasing by 11.1 percent; MFPs increased by 1.9 percent.

Country Highlights


The German market followed the overall Western European negative trend with a 3.4 percent decline. The business-inkjet market performed well above the Western European average, with an increase of 5.1 percent compared with the regional average of 0.5 percent.

The inkjet market grew by 0.4 percent while the laser market in Germany decreased by 9.3 percent. This was due to the sharp decrease in volume in monochrome laser devices, which fell by 14.6 percent in third-quarter 2017.

MFPs increased by 2.2 percent, while printers fell by 21.2 percent. MFPs now represent 80.4 percent of all devices shipped in Germany this quarter, a growth from the 76 percent observed a year ago.


The French market performed a little above the Western European average, showing overall growth of 0.7 percent in third-quarter 2017 over the same period last year. Inkjet increased by 3.8 percent, but laser declined by 10.1 percent.

The inkjet consumer market increased by 4 percent and business inkjet grew by 1.4 percent, compared with the regional average that showed 0.5 percent growth in this segment. Inkjet MFPs grew by 4.1 percent. while laser MFPs decreased by 6.5 percent.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom recorded a flat performance this quarter after many quarters of negative results, with no growth — below the regional average. This is due to a 10.6 percent decrease in the laser market, while the inkjet market enjoyed encouraging results with a 2.9 percent increase.

Business inkjet performed in line with the Western European average, with only a 0.4 percent decrease. The laser market overall declined, showing a 10.6 percent decline in shipments and a 19.9 percent decline in value. The inkjet market grew, especially the A4 segment which increased by 3.8 percent this quarter, but both A3 and A4 formats within the laser market showed negative performances.

For more information about IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker in EMEA,  contact IDC’s Phil Sargeant  at

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