The hardcopy print market in the UK took a battering in 2012's second quarter as demand for printers shrivelled, IDC research has revealed.
The analyst finds that the shipments in this country declined 16.1 per cent year on year during Q2 to 804,000, with the laser printer segment contracting by almost a third. The rest of the market provided plenty of bright spots though, with laser MFP shipments up 6.8 per cent and high-speed inkjet printers posting 20 per cent growth.
The decline of the UK market outpaced the wider western Europe region, where shipments fell 14.1 per cent to 5.27 million. But revenue fell just 4.2 per cent to $2.5bn (£1.6bn), as the B2B arena held up better than the low-end consumer laser space. Germany saw its shipment volumes fall 10.5 per cent, while the French market endured an 18.2 per cent drop.
Across the whole first half of the year, the western European market has contracted by 12.9 per cent, and IDC predicts that the full-year numbers will show a decline, barring "some extraordinary shipments during the latter quarters".
Arnaud Gagneux, director of IDC's Western European Imaging Hardware Devices and Document Solutions group, said: "The economic situation in Europe is having a clear and immediate impact on sales of hardware. End-user segments that are traditionally price sensitive, such as consumer and small business, have limited budget allocated to hardware expenses, which is reflected in the latest shipment trends.
"It is not all negative, and there are profitable opportunities, as demonstrated by the growth in A3 colour devices and clear proof of the demand for managed services in both the enterprise and SMB segments. This is driving the transition from boxes to services, which are still a challenge for some vendors and their partners. Now is the time to invest and plan for the service-led next chapter of imaging."
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