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Decrease in Japan Offices: Value-added Sales becomes more important

26 Feb, 2008 By: Tetsuo Kubo imageSource

Decrease in Japan Offices: Value-added Sales becomes more important

Final figures were announced on the number of offices in Japan from 2006 by
the statistic research of Japan Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.
Compared to more than five years ago (2001), offices decreased in all the
prefectures with the national average showing 6.9%, an almost 7% decrease.
Approximately 44,000 offices were reduced in number; making a significant impact
on the office market for devices such as copiers, printers, PC, and office
furniture. The largest decrease in ratio in prefecture level was 11.5%, followed
by 11.2%. It is considered to be one of the biggest factors in the long term
decline of demand for copiers and printers in business offices.

In order to survive in these circumstances, it requires devising new or
better ways to increase per-equipment document volume revenue by colorization,
or to avoid price competition on those leveraging with value adds from
solutions. The statistics do show rapidly increasing vertical businesses such as
construction, insurance, social welfare, nursing/healthcare, which are
considered promising targets for customer development.

The declining trend of office numbers has continued since about 1994, a few
years after the economy’s bubble ended. As copier and printer sales numbers grew
for years during that time, it is not prudent to conclude that this has caused
the decrease in demand only by itself. Copier sales in number has been declining
for the last 3 years actually, but even before that copiers stayed at about a
700,000 unit level while the office numbers were decreasing. Developing
colorization of copiers was a driving energy for that. The colorization ratio
had come to nearly 50% a year ago and color just cannot cover the reduction in
monochrome in sales numbers while it continues to grow. Growing needs from large
companies for reallocating copiers and printers effectively seems to have been
spurred by the reduction in numbers. While sales in numbers are in decline, on
the contrary, total output volume has increased two to three percent annually,
and document volume revenue is slowly increasing, owed to increased
per-equipment document volume, especially from color document volume.

The market may appear shrunken at first glance, but the density gets higher
and solution value-adds are becoming more and more important with the offering
of proposals based closely on customer needs.

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operation buttons that are easy and intuitive to change the reading speed and
sound volume, among other operations included.

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