In a world that prints increasingly fewer pages and substitutes them with apps, websites, emails, files, and virtualized documents, it is no surprise that the Imaging & Printing sector is facing major challenges. It is estimated that by 2018 enterprises will print 82.6 billion pages less than in 2015. In this landscape, many Imaging & Printing companies are rethinking their business model, successfully developing new products and solutions, rearranging their portfolio and eventually also their business structure. To facilitate this transition, increasingly flexible and efficient supply chain solutions will be required and solid partnerships with other industry players will become vitally important.

The Imaging & Printing devices market, totaling USD 46.0bn revenues in 2015, is expected to flatten out at a -0.6% 2015-18 CAGR which represents a decrement of USD -0.8bn. Longer device replacement cycles, combined with the market drop in physical prints, will be key drivers of this development. In terms of units, the Imaging & Printing devices market will also experience volume declines, with 101M units shipped in 2015 dropping to 99M by 2018.

Reflecting industry difficulties and growing economic uncertainty in emerging markets, only MEA and Europe will grow in revenues to 2018, while only MEA will see shipment growth. Referring to specific product segments (copiers, printers and multifunction products), copiers will experience both revenue and units growth. Almost 60% of copier revenues are from the color segment, growing by USD +1.1bn by 2018 and remaining one key pocket of growth for this market.

With regard to enterprise spending on printing, strong growth will originate in the Managed Print Service segment (USD +1.5bn increment by 2018; segment growing at +3.6% CAGR). Typically this is a service offered by an external entity that takes primary responsibility for meeting the customer's office printing needs, including the printing equipment, supplies, service, and overall management of the printer fleet. On the search for new sources of growth, many printing businesses are focusing on the services segment that remains still a solid source of revenue growth.

An interesting complementary market to monitor is also the one of printing consumables (a market that includes all items regularly replaced, such as ink, toner cartridges, imaging units, etc.). The development of this market is strictly linked to the drop in page volumes. Enterprise spending on consumables will decline at -5.2% CAGR, losing USD -11.9bn by 2018. The consumables decline is due to a sharp drop in office printing through 2017. As companies move to online communication and work processes, page volumes are bound to drop. Nonetheless, a slight page volume increment will originate in color print (+126bn pages by 2018), due to increasing market penetration of color technologies, combined with a drop in ink and toner prices. This color printer pages growth will, however, be insufficient to drive consumables revenue growth.

In conclusion, the Imaging & Printing market will undergo structural changes, and so will enterprises active in this industry. While the traditional hardware and consumables business will directionally decline over time, due to an inevitable drop in physical print demand, new and interesting opportunities will come from the services business. These changes will also have some major impacts on the supply chain. The decline in consumables and hardware sales will inevitably lead to lower shipment volumes and competitive pressure will increasingly require cost-efficient and flexible supply chain and logistics solutions to meet the needs of Imaging & Printing companies. Lastly, a more integrated supply chain will be required to support the increasing demand for Managed Print Services.


DHL will be publishing more Technology Subsector Market Monitors about PCs & Notebooks, Mobile Devices, Imaging and Printing, Semiconductors, Networks, Consumer Electronics, and Enterprise Computing.

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The Imaging & Printing Technology Subsector is among the key subsectors regularly monitored by DHL. This subsector includes different kinds of imaging and printing hardware and devices: Printer, Copiers, and MFPs. Printers are defined as peripheral output devices for producing computer-generated images on paper, using any of several marking technologies. Copiers are image-duplicating devices with integrated platens used to make copies. MFPs are multifunction products and include flatbed devices (that have a plane or horizontal scanning surface) and sheet-fed MFPs (that allow printing only in sheet form). CAGR is used as an abbreviation for Compound Annual Growth Rate and refers to the period 2015-2018. Data Source: Gartner 1Q 2016.

Published: July 2016

Images: DHL