IDC: Western Europe Printer, MFP Shipments Down, but Business Inkjet Rebounds

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According to research by International Data Corporation (IDC), the Western European printer and MFP market declined by 7.7 percent in unit terms in first-quarter 2016 compared with the same period a year ago, with negative performances in both the inkjet and laser segments.

According to IDC, this negative start to 2016, with a market figure of 5 million units and a decline of 422,000 units, is largely due to the contraction in consumer printing, but is relatively in line with forecasts. Revenues declined by 2.5 percent, with lasers showing a slight 0.8 percent decline and inkjet revenues falling by 12.4 percent.

Note that in its research, IDC tracks A2–A4 devices, and that hardcopy peripherals include single-function printers, printer-based multifunctional systems (MFPs), and single-function digital copiers (SFDCs).

The laser markets showed a decrease in first-quarter 2016, following the negative trend seen in the previous three quarters in Western Europe. Still, IDC says the laser-revenue decrease is much lower than the volume, indicating that prices in many markets are holding.

After a “blip” in the last quarter, business inkjet shipments rebounded and grew 6.4 percent in the first-quarter. MFPs had the highest growth rate, with a 9.2 percent increase, but business-inkjet printers decreased 16.8 percent in the quarter. Despite this, business-inkjet MFPs accounted for well over 90 percent of business-inkjet shipments in 1Q16.

Overall, MFPs accounted for 79.7 percent  of all shipments in Western Europe in first-quarter 2016, lower than in the past three quarters. Laser-MFP shipments increased by 1.5 percent and inkjet MFPs decreased by 8.5 percent  this quarter, but shipments were generally in line with IDC forecasts.

Growth in the business market, comprising laser and business-inkjet devices, slowed, but the value only slipped by 1.2 percent . The highest value growth was in 45-ppm+ color devices, a positive trend that has been seen for more than a year now.

“After witnessing the first blip in more than two years in the business-inkjet market last quarter, we are happy to report that we see a positive trend this quarter in Western Europe. A4 is responsible for most of the growth, but A3 devices are increasing as well,” said Delphine Carnet, senior research analyst in IDC’s Western European Imaging, Hardware Devices, and Document Solutions group. “We also see an increase in shipments in higher-speed segments, as businesses seem to be taking advantage of the newest technologies and upgrades in business inkjet technology.”

Main Highlights

  • The overall Western European hardcopy market declined 7.7 percent  year-over-year in first-quarter 2016, with the inkjet decline greater than that for laser.
  • Few segments saw any significant growth, with A3 and A4 color MFP devices showing the only real laser growth increase in Western Europe.
  • Most color growth was from A4 MFP products, with only color MFP products showing a double-digit increase.
  • Business inkjet grew by 6.4 percent, with MFPs responsible for the increase, while printers decreased by 16.8 percent.

Country Highlights


The German market followed the overall Western European negative trend with a 5.8 percent decline after two negative quarters. However, the business-inkjet market was stronger than the Western European average, with an increase of 7.4 percent  compared with the regional average of 6.4 percent .

The laser market in Germany has shown negative growth for a year now, but color devices increased 1.1 percent compared with the 18.9 percent  decrease in the black-and-white laser segment. The inkjet market also decreased, by 0.7 percent , with consumer inkjet showing a 3.3 percent decrease.

Both MFPs and printers saw declines, with a 1.2 percent  decrease for MFPs and a 16.4 percent  decline for printers.


France performed better than the Western European average, but still showed an overall decline of 4.0 percent in first-quarter 2016 over the same period last year. Inkjet decreased, but laser declined more than the inkjet market.

The consumer market for inkjet decreased 6.3 percent, more than last quarter, but business inkjet increased 19.2 percent , contrasting strongly with the slight positive trend seen in Western Europe. Inkjet MFPs declined by 3.1 percent, but laser MFPs increased by 2.2 percent.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom recorded a very poor performance this quarter, with an 11.4 percent decline. This is in line with the negative trend seen in Western Europe, though the U.K. performance was even worse. Business inkjet performed worse than the regional average, with only a 2.6 percent increase. Both the laser and inkjet markets declined, but there was positive growth in A3 laser MFPs.

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

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