Gartner: EMEA multifunction product use to increase

The market for page copier, printer and flatbed multifunction products (MFPs) in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) will grow by seven percent in 2005, with shipments totalling 11.6 million units, according to latest forecasts from Gartner.

Shipments in 2009 are expected to amount to 12.3 millions units, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.5 percent over the five-year period.

Gartner said that total page and inkjet technologies’ unit shipments in the EMEA region would rise by 3.5 percent to 49.6 million and generate end-user spending of US$22 billion over the next five years, a rise of one percent.

“The market will witness two transitions through 2009. Color machines will take market share from monochrome devices and flatbed MFPs will displace single-function devices,” says Sharon McNee, principal analyst at Gartner. By 2009, 18 percent of all page technology devices sold will be color, compared to only ten percent in 2004.

“New entrants, new products and new price-performance points will ensure that the transition from monochrome-only to color-capable flatbed MFPs will gather pace over the next five years,” McNee adds.

In the business market, IT organizations have been reluctant to completely embrace color devices amid fears of escalating and uncontrolled print costs. However, declining acquisition and running costs will continue to help sell the business advantages of color across the entire business market.

Small and medium businesses have been the early adopters of color page products, driven by large reductions in acquisition cost and the increased business benefits of using color.

The transition to color flatbed MFPs is taking hold firstly at the departmental level with a single machine to meet mono, color, A3 and A4 printing and copying. This will later be supplemented with workgroup A4 color flatbed MFPs as new models with lower acquisition and running costs are developed in the next two years. By 2009, Gartner forecasts that 16 percent of the EMEA copier and flatbed MFP markets will be color, in comparison to only six percent in 2004. User adoption of color page printers is also accelerating. In 2004, 11 percent of page printers were color, with this predicted to rise to 19 percent by 2009.

In the consumer environment, the transition to color adoption occurred many years ago and was rapid. The transition to flatbed MFPs is moving quickly because prices have fallen dramatically during the past two years.

Consumers are now embracing digital photography, which will spur an upgrade market for printers and flatbed MFPs — with flatbed MFPs taking the major share — as well as an ancillary market for photo-dedicated solutions.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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