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Color is Here and its Gaining Strength

22 Mar, 2006 By: Jeff Hayes imageSource

Color is Here and its Gaining Strength

Several years ago, InfoTrends
(formerly CAP Ventures) declared that the next big thing in the office will be
the migration to Universal Copiers/Printers (UCPs)—devices capable of printing
and copying in black & white and color at little to no premium over dedicated
monochrome devices.

InfoTrends indicated that a series of advances in engine design, marking
materials, media, and controllers would create new economics and opportunities
for the $40 billion office equipment industry. Now, in 2006, the transformation
of printing and copying in the office is well underway.

Fueling this growth is the latest generation of marking engines, which offer
dramatically higher print speeds, excellent print quality, and prices that are a
fraction of those from just a few years ago.

Recent product introductions from companies like Canon, HP, Konica Minolta,
Kyocera Mita, Lexmark, Oki Data, Ricoh, Toshiba, and Xerox have dropped the
price of color by half while providing much better speeds, duty cycles, and
paper handling capabilities. Color laser printers are now available for under
$500. Color copiers are routinely being placed in the general office for black &
white and color jobs.

It’s All About the Pages

InfoTrends projects that total impression volumes—printer and copier-based
products—in the U.S. workgroup environment will peak in 2008 at just over 1.1
trillion impressions. (All impression volume figures are for electrophotographic
and solid inkjet-based machines.)

Although the population of employees in the U.S. continues to grow at about 1
percent per year and Gross Domestic Product grows at about 3 percent per year
(critical factors in volume growth), workgroup printing and copying volumes will
eventually crest and begin to decline as office workers reduce the amount of
paper used for business processes and opt to view work on-screen.

InfoTrends also estimates that impression volume produced on black & white
devices (printers and copiers) has peaked and that color devices will account
for a growing percentage of workgroup volume.

Black & white volume will decline, but not quite as fast as the following graph
(figure 1) suggests because a significant portion of impression volume on color
devices is black & white pages. Our survey suggests that between 30-50 percent
of page volume produced on color devices is black & white, depending on type of
device, size of company and region.

United States Workgroup Copier

InfoTrends estimates that overall U.S. placements of copiers in the workgroup
environment grew 8.9 percent to 823,000 in 2005 (figure 2). Nevertheless,
placements of black & white copiers (and copier MFPs) grew only 1.3 percent in
2005 to 660,000.

The vast majority of this growth came from color copiers and UCPs, which were
estimated to reach nearly 168,000 placements in 2005, an increase of 55 percent
over 2004. In most cases, manufacturers and distributors view UCPs as
replacements for monochrome Segment 2, 3, and 4 products and are marketing them
as such. By the end of the decade, InfoTrends projects that approximately half
of all copier-based products will be monochrome and half will be color.

InfoTrends estimates that nearly 70 percent of the 168,000 UCP placements from
2005 were color-capable devices, including many single-drum products. These
devices are designed to primarily produce black & white pages as well as some
color pages.

Over the forecast period, we project that UCP placements will rise at a compound
annual growth rate of 31.3 percent and reach over 422,000 units per year by 2009
(figure 3). We also expect color-centric devices (tandem-based designs that
offer similar speeds for monochrome and color output) will account for the
majority of sales as the price difference between color-capable and
color-centric devices narrows.

InfoTrends estimates that total U.S. hardware revenues from workgroup UCPs
reached $2.7 billion in 2005, representing a 42 percent increase over 2004
(figure 4). The majority of this revenue came from color-capable devices. We are
projecting that revenues from color-capable UCPs will peak over the next few
years in the U.S. as overall placements of color-centric devices continue to


Office color machines will overtake black & white devices in most product
segments over the next five years. Vendors and dealers that do not have an
aggressive color strategy will lose market share and consumables revenue.

InfoTrends believes that vendors and dealers should put the majority of their
marketing and sales resources behind their color products, and generally not
emphasize their black & white products. Companies should also invest in training
to ensure that sales representatives are properly positioning the devices. UCPs
will require a consultative sell, and the sales rep needs to match the right
product for the customer’s output requirements.

Jeff Hayes is a group director at InfoTrends, a global market research and
consulting firm specializing in the imaging and document technology industry.
For more information, visit www.infotrends.com.

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