Like many other markets, the print sector is in a state of flux. PCR presents a look at the latest sales trends

The changing print market

The way we work is changing. As businesses look to reduce their costs and improve efficiency, more companies than ever before are exploring the options offered by remote working.

In many cases, it can be a win-win situation for both employees and employers. The employee gets the relative flexibility that working from home offers, but in turn often repay this trust by working longer on average than people who commute to an office every day.

According to research conducted by the print vendor Brother, 80 per cent of organisations are now required to provide remote IT access to their systems in order to allow employee to work from home or on the road.

“One out of twelve people employed in the UK now work in a home office, and this growing market is creating new sales opportunities for resellers,” observes Brother’s UK country head, Phil Jones.

“In small and home offices, where space is at a premium, the technology needs to be compact but it also still needs to have the same features as the larger machines.”

The changing requirements of business are in turn reflected in the sales figures for the print market. Many of the traditional segments are in decline: according to GfK figures, the scanners market has seen a 30 per cent year-on- year decline and the multi-function device segment has seen a five per cent volume decline.

“One out of twelve people employed in the UK now work in a home office, and this growing market is creating new sales opportunities for resellers.”

Phil Jones, Brother

“As digital information grows around us via media devices and smartphones, it is becoming increasingly difficult for traditional office markets such as printers, scanners and projectors to continually offer new and innovative technologies to disturb the ever-emerging consumer habits of digitally driven content,” notes GfK account manager Andrew Walsh.

As a result of these shifts in workplace practice, new technologies such as web- enabled printing – which allows a user to print from a device across the internet to a remotely located printer – account for over 60 per cent of volume sales in traditional retail channels (as of February this year).

The trend towards mobility has also affected other sectors. The market for LED mini projectors has now doubled in size over the course of the last year, compared to the projectors market as a whole, which has declined by seven per cent in the same interval.

“Increasingly flexible working habits are creating opportunities for resellers,” concludes Jones. “There is growing demand for technology to support flexible working, such as portable printers which give workers the same functionality they require at their desk, regardless of where they are working from. Demand for technologies such as mobile scanners is also increasing with this focus on flexibility.”

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