Printer business in India high on SMB demand

9 April, 2008:

Printing sector and printer sales in India

Printing business in India is growing considerably due to increasing demand from small and medium business firms (SMBs). According to a new study by New York-based Access Markets International Partners, small and medium firms have spent US $1.3 billion on printers and printing supplies in 2007-2008. The printing industry in India recorded a healthy upward rise of 16 percent over the previous year.

Senior manager for Research and Consultancy at AMI Partners, Swati Sasmal said increasing competition and globalization have forced SMBs to become more quality conscious. She opined that this has resulted in increased focus on their quality of print outputs and printer usage. High-end printers like lasers are a key trend that can be highlighted as a result of this quality-conscious focus. It is revealed that that around two thirds of Small Businesses and half of Medium Businesses use laser printers. Increased levels of networking and networked printers among Indian firms are a major driving laser printer use. The prices of laser printers are also moving down considerable during last few years.

Printing spending has substantially increased in the Indian retail and health care sector, the survey pointed out. The Indian health sector is using laser printers for wristbands during admission, marking of samples, and billing. The use of thermal printers is also on the rise in India. This has been driven mainly by the overall growth of retail and rapidly increasing customer footfall within the retail segment. Low-cost imports of thermal printers from neighboring countries are also adding to the growth and usage of thermal printers.

Although more SMBs in India are using new generation printers, the dot-matrix printer still remains an important component within the overall India SMB printer market and accounts for a significant share of total printer shipments. However, this market is anticipated to remain stagnant and show a sluggish growth in the near future. Single-function printer usage is on the wane—SMBs are preferring multi-function/all-in-ones due to their increased versatility at an affordable cost.

Hewlett-Packard continues to lead the market in the Indian SMB printer space. Its wide range of products in both the mono and color categories has helped it to maintain the market leadership. Other printer manufacturers like Epson, Samsung, and Canon are behind market leader HP, but are gradually gaining market share in India. Further, new foreign players like Brother and Ricoh, with their aggressive marketing plans, may pose a challenge for the market leaders. The focus of most printer vendors has gradually shifted from metros to “B & C class” cities thus boosting the growth of printers in these areas.





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