Western European HCP Market Starts with Weak Results in Q1 2017

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According to research by International Data Corporation (IDC), the Western European printer and multifunction (MFP) market declined by 0.9% in unit terms in 1Q17 compared with the same period a year ago. There were negative sales performances in both inkjet and laser markets for units, but value for the laser market was actually up. The overall market has been in continuous decline since 2Q15 — and in 1Q17 the quarter declined by 43,000 units to give a market of over 5 million devices and a decline that is again largely due to the contraction in consumer printing but is relatively in line with forecasts. Revenues, on the other hand, grew by 4%. Inkjet revenues, however, decreased 4.3% while laser revenues grew by 5.4%. 

Laser market shipments decreased by 0.9% in 1Q17, but values increased, indicating that prices in many markets are holding. ASPs for the laser market increased by 5.4% in 1Q17. This also indicates higher specification products shipping, including production. 

Business inkjet shipments suffered an unexpected decline, with shipments falling by 14% in 1Q17. MFP products declined by 12.9% in volume but only decreased by 9.4% in value. This is due to an increase in the average selling price of 1.8% for A4 MFPs and 9.1% for A3 MFPs; the A4 format represents 73.7% of business inkjet MFPs. Despite this, business inkjet MFPs accounted for 90.8% of business inkjet shipments in 1Q17. 

Overall, MFP products accounted for 81.1% of all shipments in Western Europe in 1Q17, higher than the 79.6% in 1Q16. Laser and inkjet MFPs increased by 1%, while laser and inkjet printers decreased by 8.2%, with shipments generally in line with IDC forecasts. 

There was a decline in the business market in 1Q17; the market, comprising laser and business inkjet devices, declined by 4.8%, but the value increased by 4.6%. The highest value growth was in 31–44ppm color devices and 45–69ppm mono devices, a positive trend that has been seen for more than a year now. 

"While 2017 started with negative results, the slow-down of the market is at a much slower pace than 2016," said Delphine Carnet, senior research analyst in IDC's Western European Imaging, Hardware Devices, and Document Solutions group. "And it is important to note that despite a decline in shipments, revenues are doing well. For the past four quarters, the industry has showed positive value growth. Customers want fully equipped, better machines that are faster and more secure, and they are ready to pay for it." 

Main Highlights 

  • The overall Western European hardcopy market declined by 0.9% year on year in 1Q17, with laser decreasing faster than inkjet. 
  • Few segments saw any significant growth, with A4 color laser MFPs and A4 color inkjet MFPs showing the only real growth in Western Europe. 
  • Business inkjets declined by 14%, with printers decreasing by 23.3% and MFPs by 12.9%. 

Country Highlights 


The German market followed the overall Western European negative trend with a 3.9% decline after six negative quarters. The business inkjet market performed below the Western European average, with a decrease of 17.2% compared with the regional average of 14%. 

The inkjet market declined by 8.9% while the laser market in Germany increased by 3.1%. This was due to the increase in volume in color laser devices, which grew by 7% in 1Q17. 

Multifunction devices decreased by 1.4%, while printers declined by 10.8%. MFPs now represent 75.1% of all devices shipped in Germany this quarter, an increase on the 73.2% observed a year ago. 


The French market performed above the Western European average, showing an overall growth of 0.7% in 1Q17 over the same period last year. Inkjet increased by 5.5%, but laser declined by 10.6%. 

The inkjet consumer market increased by 11% and business inkjet decreased by 20.6%, both a higher growth and a higher decline than in the regional market. Inkjet MFPs grew by 6.9%, but laser MFPs decreased by 6.2%. 

The U.K. 

The U.K. recorded a weak performance again this quarter, with a 0.9% decline, the same as the regional average. However, this decrease in volume is a lot smaller than the 4.4% decline in Western Europe. 

Business inkjet performed better than the Western European average, with a 0.6% decrease. The laser market overall declined, with a 1.2% decrease in shipments. The inkjet market declined, too, by 0.8% this quarter, and we saw slight growth in A4 inkjet (+0.1%) and A4 laser printing devices (+1%).


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