This Week in Imaging: Challenges Continue for Document-Imaging Industry
This week’s news was marked by the latest research from International Data Corporation that showed global office printer and MFP shipments declined 17.6 percent year-over-year in fourth-quarter 2021. This follows a third-quarter 2021 shipment decline of 20.4 percent. Although the fourth quarter was an improvement, fourth-quarter shipment value was down 12.3 percent, versus a decline of 11.0 percent for the third quarter.
IDC attributed shipment declines to inventory and component shortages. These shortages were due to the long-lasting effects of production shutdowns and logistics problems due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
More recently, Toshiba has expressed concern that the Russian invasion of Ukraine may result in new semiconductor shortages, as Ukraine is said to account for 70 percent of the world’s supply of Neon and Krypton gas that mostly come from Ukraine, and are used for semiconductor production. That might mean the semiconductor shortage lasts until March 2023, according to Toshiba.
However, while market-research firm Gartner notes possible challenges for semiconductor manufacturing, it also notes: “It is important to note that many chip manufacturers have claimed diversity in their raw-materials and gas supply chains with sufficient inventory, and they actually don’t expect to see an immediate impact beyond already-present shortages.”
New China Lockdowns
Meanwhile, China, which has a strict zero-COVID policy, has again instituted a COVID-19 lockdown, with 37 million people in lockdown in various cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzen. The question is how will manufacturing and logistics be affected. Currently, Foxconn, Toyota, and Volkswagen are said to have suspended production in China.
The document-imaging industry is facing its worst challenges since the financial crisis of 2008, and at this point, things could go either way. On the positive side, COVID-19 cases and lockdowns in China could ease, Ukraine and Russia could negotiate a peace treaty, semiconductor shortages could resolve this year, and offices could continue reopening. On the negative side, if challenges are not resolved or worsen, it could result in continued product shortages and lower shipments and page volumes.
This Week in Imaging:
Market-Research and Reports
Managed Print Services
Office Printers and MFPs
Commercial and Industrial Printing