HP bears brunt of printer shipment shrinkage

HP bears brunt of printer shipment shrinkage

THE New Zealand 2003 printer market shrunk by 6% in units shipped, according to preliminary results from researcher IDC.

Market leader Hewlett-Packard confirms that its share of the nearly 189,000 shipments fell from 42% in 2002 to 36%.

Channel sources also confirm that Canon has jumped ahead of Epson to grab the number two spot. These three vendors accounted for 83% of total shipments for the year. Brother and Lexmark rounded out the top five positions.

IDC analyst Joshua Bain says the drop in the market was due to a 15% decrease in inkjet shipments, which form nearly 80% of all sales, and competition from multi-function models (all-in-one printer and copier devices), which IDC records separately.

“You can put some of this down to Christmas where the consumer focus was on multi-function,” Bain says

There were just over 28,000 multi-function units compared to nearly 48,000 printer shipments in the final quarter of last year.

HP printing and imaging director Jennifer Rutherford says she is not concerned by the fall in unit sales because the vendor “maintained” its 42.5% market share in dollar terms.

“We have held in total, lost in inkjets and gained a little in lasers.”

Rutherford says HP may have lost ground in the “low-end” area because it did not “play in that game”, despite dropping its hardware prices.

There is a perception that HP’s consumables are expensive, she says. The company will run an “education campaign around ink” and introduce trade-in programmes to combat falling unit sales.

Despite this, HP finished the year top of all categories in which it competes but, in the fourth quarter, trailed Canon in inkjet printers, Brother in laser and Oki in colour, which nearly doubled in market size.

“It was a bit of a surprise to us,” Comworth general manager Ian McKenzie says of Oki’s strong fourth quarter. “Because HP dropped their pricing 30% as a result of [its] Q3 [performance].”

Oki continues to dominate the shrinking dot matrix sector, of which it has 60% share.

Last year’s final quarter was worth $18.9 million, compared to $22.2 for the third quarter. Full year sales figures were not available.

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