The Dealer’s Pocket Guide to Color MFPs28 Mar, 2006 By: Steve Feldstein imageSource
The Dealer’s Pocket Guide to Color MFPs
LED/Laser MFPs are hot on the path of explosive growth as they perfectly blend
document management multi-tasking with affordable and efficient color for small
Last September, Lyra Research published The Replacements: Monochrome and Color
Laser MFPs study, which reported that shipments for color LED/laser MFPs will
experience triple-digit growth by 2009. With this anticipated expansion, dealers
are poised to take on significant incremental revenue as they engage business
customers with these versatile machines.
Understanding the numerous underlying trends for color LED/laser MFP growth will
be critical in identifying business opportunities. As this market grows, so will
the range of products that are available to dealers to sell into different
The Color MFP Migration
The market growth for color MFPs derives from several areas. There is the direct
migration from single function devices, the upgrade from inkjet MFPs to faster
LED/laser-based models, and the evolving move from monochrome to color.
There is also the emergence of a sub-$1,000 and $1,000-$5,000 color MFP
category, which is gaining strength with the small businesses segment and
causing a shift to printer-based MFP models over the dominant color copier-based
MFP legacy. Printer-based MFPs are growing as their speeds nearly equal
copier-based configurations and the low-end color MFP market emerges.
There are three general color MFP usage categories: business color, full-time
color and graphic arts color. Business color users generally print up to 30
percent color, making copier-based MFPs sufficient, whereas full-time color
users rely more on printer-based color due to the increase in output quality.
Graphic arts color users tend to rely exclusively on the high-end copier-based
Regardless of the usage, there is little doubt that the industry will see a
greater number of color LED/laser MFPs in the future as color printing engines
become increasingly affordable.
In its September 2004 study, Color MFP Value Proposition, IDC reported that the
average pricing for color MFPs will drop by almost 50 percent between 2003 and
2008. This trend, combined with businesses growing reliance on color printing,
will ensure new revenue opportunities for dealers over the next several years.
Making the Move
The small business segment is the early adopter of color MFPs and is poised to
experience the most growth with 51 percent planning to acquire a color MFP. This
is partially due to office space and budget limitations that make buying
stand-alone printers, copiers, scanners, and fax machines cost and
The graphic arts community is also a key color MFP adopter, with its high
reliance on quality color output. The range of adopters is expanding to include
such areas as real estate, architecture, construction, and insurance companies,
as well as churches, schools, and medium and large businesses.
Color for Every Office Need
Color LED/laser MFPs run a wide gamut when it comes to productivity and
features. There are models targeted to mid-sized businesses, enterprises and
demanding large workgroups that deliver fast speeds and advanced paper-handling
capabilities, combined with high-quality color for printing professional
For instance, the ES3640 Series MFP from OKI Printing Solutions is designed for
workgroups printing up to 150,000 pages per month, enabling the crossover from
business color to full-time color.
Color MFPs targeting small businesses balance cost with productivity and
performance to meet affordability needs. OKI Printing Solutions offers two
models for these customers—the C5510n and ES1624n MFPs. The C5510n MFP prints
and copies in color at 12 ppm and black & white at 20 ppm and the ES1624n MFP
prints and copies at 16 ppm in color and 24 ppm in black & white.
No matter the device, high product reliability and support is of great
importance to dealers when selling color MFPs. The service, supply, and response
capabilities are critical to the transaction and ongoing customer relationship.
Preparing for the Demand
business owners move to consolidate and improve their document management and
introduce color printing into their offices, the proliferation of color
LED/laser MFPs will present unique opportunities for dealers.
There will be more color MFPs coming into the market at various speed segments
and tailored to different needs, offering more choices to businesses and
Bracing for this growth, dealers should work closely with their vendor partners
to identify new market opportunities and understand the full range of products
that are available on the market today and in development for the future.