Western Europe Printer and MFP Shipments Down, but Beat Expectations

According to research by International Data Corporation (IDC), the Western European printer and copier/MFP market decreased by 1.6 percent in unit-shipment terms in first-quarter 2018, compared with the same period a year ago. This is a smaller decline than was originally forecast, and for some OEMs, the quarter was a rather productive start to the year with many reporting year-over-year increases. The market decline was less than 100,000 and most of this contraction was from monochrome lasers rather than from consumer inkjets.

Note that for its Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker, IDC tracks A2–A4 devices. Hardcopy peripherals include single-function printers, printer-based multifunctional systems (MFPs), and single-function digital copiers (SFDCs).

Overall laser printer and MFPs markets declined by 3.6 percent, but on a positive note, the color laser markets continued to increase by 1.1 percent, with gains in both the A4 and A3 MFP markets. The drive towards color is continuing and IDC forecasts that the decline in monochrome will also continue.

Inkjet markets remained relatively flat and only showed a small decline of 0.6 percent. As expected, the consumer markets continue to suffer, but remain quite sizeable, while the business-inkjet market showed strong growth of 10.0 percent year-over-year. This growth occurred in most segments, as both printers and MFP products increased, and although most growth was found in the A4 (8.5″ x 14″) markets, the A3 (11″ x 17″) markets for printers and MFPs continued to grow.

Production markets had mixed results, and although laser markets were down, the high-speed inkjet market increased by 17.6 percent, which IDC says can lead to large revenue streams for OEMs. Serial-impact dot-matrix also continued to slide, as customers for these products migrate towards laser or inkjet devices.

“Shipments at the start of 2018 showed better than expected results and growth that was predicted in areas such as color laser and business inkjet were validated,” said Phil Sargeant, program director in IDC’s Western European Imaging, Hardware Devices, and Document Solutions group. “This relatively upbeat quarter shows that print remains a very important function for most businesses, and the growth trends seen during first-quarter 2018 are likely to remain throughout 2018.”

Main highlights:

• The overall Western European hardcopy market contracted by 1.6 percent year-over-year in first-quarter 2018, recording a shipment figure of 4.9 million units.

• There were two noticeable growth areas, first, color-laser shipments increased by 1.1 percent, and second, business inkjets increased by 10.0 percnt.

• Monochrome laser has contracted for many quarters now and this continued into first-quarter 2018, with a decline of 6.5 percent.

• 82 percent of all hardcopy shipments are now MFP products, which shows an increase from the same period a year ago.

Main Country Highlights

The combined big three markets of Germany, France, and the U.K. reflected the overall market decline, but there were some differences between the countries:


The largest market in Western Europe declined by 1.8 percent. The market amounted to 1.2 million units shipped and generally the market shipments were in line with the European averages.

Inkjet shipments increased by 2.4 percent and Germany showed growth in both consumer and business inkjet markets.

Laser shipments continued to slide as the impact of business inkjets continues to hamper the laser-market recovery. Although color-laser shipments increased, monochrome laser shipments showed a double-digit decline.


Shipments in first-quarter 2018 showed an increase of 1.2 percent. Its shipments figure of 927,000 confirmed that France is the second-largest market in Western Europe.

Inkjet shipments remained strong and increased by 4.3 percent, and although most of this growth was from business inkjets, consumer markets also increased. The laser market declined by 7.4 percent and, unlike the major trends, France saw both color and monochrome lasers decline.

The U.K.

Overall shipments declined by 1.6 percent in first-quarter 2018, as both inkjet and laser shipments declined. The U.K. recorded a shipment figure of 805,000.

,Inkjet shipments declined 1.8 percent, and although consumer markets contracted, the business-inkjet market did increase, but it was less than the market average.

However, color laser shipments did increase in line with the market average and monochrome laser shipments were better than the market average.

For more information about IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker in EMEA, contact Phil Sargeant at psargeant@idc.com.

More Resources