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Resellers look to boost managed print services as hardware sales remain flat

Sales of printer hardware in Western Europe were flat at 0.1% year-on-year in Q4 2018, according to the latest distribution data published by CONTEXT.

Laser devices reversed the trend seen earlier in the year by outperforming inkjet devices, and sales of consumer-targeted devices increased by 8.5%. Consumer printers steadily increased their market share and drove overall imaging growth in 2018.

Sales of multifunction printers (MFPs) were up by 2.2% year-on-year with continued growth for both laser and inkjet MFPs (sales were up by 4.1% and 1.7%, respectively). However, CONTEXT reports that this was offset by the negative performance of single-function printers (SFPs) of which sales were down by 10.1% (down 20.6% for inkjet SFPs and 7.2% for laser SFPs).

The report states that this pattern confirms that the shift from single- to multi-function devices is continuing and is likely to be further consolidated going forward, particularly for lower spec models for which there is not a high demand from resellers – which CONTEXT says is according to a UK distributor that it is frequently asked if it can secure high volume, low spec, low price for export.

“According to the distribution channel, more and more resellers are looking at complimenting their offering by having an MPS proposition (partnering with vendors directly or indirectly, or through MPS dealers to support their business),” said Antonio Talia, head of business analysts at CONTEXT.

“However, vendors still need to expand their security assessment and monitoring services, along with partnering with traditional IT security providers, particularly in the area of threat intelligence to ensure that print security is treated with the same priority as the rest of the IT infrastructure.

“Print and digital convergence will drive increased demand for integrated document workflow in 2019, and despite the rapid adoption of digital and mobile technologies, many businesses remain reliant on print to some extent.”

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