"Radical change" is still affecting the printer market, and the improved inkjets now available may start to do very well in businesses even though the consumer inkjet market is in decline.
Larry Jamieson, director of hardware and supplies advisory services at consultancy and analysis firm Photizo Group, said the global printer market is continuing to be affected by radical changes in IT, and printer shipments are expected to fall overall to about 88m by 2017, from 111m in 2012.
However, one bright spot for the channel may be the latest business inkjets.
"Though consumer inkjets are declining rapidly, developments in business inkjets, especially page-wide-array devices for small workgroups, are faster and offer lower per-page costs than comparably priced lasers and may break laser's 30-year domination of the office printing market," Jamieson said.
That is even though the shift to colour lasers is expected to regain momentum over time as vendors improve the features and reduce per-page costs, he said.
More broadly, increasing mobility and adoption of mobile devices including smartphones and tablets by both businesses and consumers is changing the way people access data, alongside managed print services and the developments in digital workflow, he said.
Different types of devices and different feature sets are in demand as a result. There will also be more emphasis on scanners to transfer data into the new "digital workflows".
"In addition, the economy remains an issue as companies continue to look to cut costs to improve short-term profitability, putting little emphasis on research and long-term growth, so the employment picture is slow to develop," Jamieson said.
Full details are in Photizo Group's first-half 2013 Imaging Hardware Forecast 360.
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