Samsung is introducing regional packaging on all its original print consumable products in an attempt to stamp out the burgeoning consumables grey market.
According to the Imaging Consumables Coalition, the European grey market counts for more than £250m of the total European supplies market and since 2005 Samsung has seized more than 5,000 items of grey consumables in Europe alone.
Paul Burborough, consumables marketing manager for Samsung UK, told CRN: “The grey market is a massive problem and is damaging resellers’ business. Previously Samsung consumables have had the same look and feel throughout the world, so if the dollar is cheaper then products flow across the border, interrupting the price stability.
“We began the first phase of introducing regional packaging this month, and by October all Samsung consumables in Europe will have regional packaging.”
Last year Samsung had 19 distributors selling its consumables, a figure which has been reduced this year. “We have consolidated our distribution partnerships down to 10 in the UK, and will bring that down to seven in 2008,” said Burborough.
Samsung’s remaining consumables distributors are Advent, ISA, KFH, Micro Peripherals, Midwich, Spectrum, Spicers, UFP, Westcoast and XMA.
“The distributors that have been loyal to us in the UK will be rewarded through our measure to tackle the grey market,” said Burborough.
Alex Ward, commercial director at distributor Midwich, said: “Samsung needs to make sure it has the right channel that is committed to selling UK-sourced products.
“Some vendors are ahead of others in tackling the grey market. Samsung is tackling it head on and in a professional way. Resellers can think they are buying grey products when in fact they could be buying counterfeits, which is an other problem altogether.”
Kevin Jones, managing director of printer VAR Printware, told CRN his firm has been affected by the grey market.
“We do suffer from customers buying grey products. Once they have bought it at 20 per cent less, then you have lost them forever,” he said.
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