An Observation of the Global Printing Supplies Market

John Cooper discusses his observation on the global printing supplies market. 


Consumers must be warned if they are exposed to any amount of any listed chemical, even if the exposure was safe and posed no health risk. In 1986 California introduced the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, providing a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity (currently over 900 chemicals). California is set to update that law with new regulations that take effect on August 30, 2018 and will affect any product sold in California.

What makes the act particularly onerous is that consumers must be warned if they are exposed to any amount of any listed chemical, even if the exposure was safe and posed no health risk. California is not alone as at least 11 other states have reportedly introduced over 30 proposals requiring warning labels for products where there is no actual risk as backed by science. For more information visit or


Smithers Pira has a new research report on the future of the inkjet market in which the author Dr. Sean Smyth predicts a growth rate of 9.4% per year to $109 billion by 2023. His interviews with users and suppliers indicate the fastest growth will come in the areas of commercial and book printing as well as packaging. This expected growth will include taking market share from more traditional methods as well as new opportunities.

Epson has reportedly sold over 30 million ink tank printers since their first introduction in 2010. For FY 2018 they expect placements of 9.5 million units, a 20% increase from 2017. Epson has also introduced two new Work Force printers with replaceable ink pack system. The WF-M5299 monochrome and WF-M5799 multifunction monochrome printers have capability of up to 24 ISO ppm (black).

Brother is offering new printers with an ink tank system in competition with Seiko Epson. The INKvestment Tank MFC-j995DW multifunction is equipped with a storage tank that feeds a typical cartridge with up to a years’ worth of ink at a typical average 150 pages/month.

The MFC- j995DW XL INKvestment Tank XL Extended Print Model has an even larger tank/cartridge providing up to 2 years ink. Price from US$199 to US$299. Print costs are claimed to be less than 1 cent (black) and 5 cents color. Brother has also introduced a series of low cost home/office multifunction inkjet printers. The models begin at just US$79.

3D Printing

The IDC Semiannual Worldwide 3D Spending Guide is forecasting a 23.2% increase in 3D spending to US$23 billion by 2022. Currently the major drivers of 3D are prototypes as well as new and aftermarket parts for automotive, aerospace and healthcare. However newer and faster models are expected to lead to wider adoption.

The CONTEXT Additive Manufacturing & 3D Printing Research Update for the third quarter 2017 indicated that the industrial/professional segment saw a 22% increase in 3D shipments compared to the same period a year earlier.

Personal/desktop shipments were 45% higher in the first 3 quarters vs the same three quarters 2016. Stratasys had a 24% revenue share with their polymer-based units while GE was the leader (9%) in metal powder technology.


Canon was awarded a patent infringement judgment of US$4.5 million against toner bottle producer GPI and aftermarket toner producer Color Imaging back in 2017. Color Imaging appealed but has now settled the case by stipulating to the consent judgment and agreed to a permanent injunction against producing, using or selling the infringing bottles. An undisclosed amount of money will also be paid to Canon.

Ricoh has announced the establishment of “Ricoh Manufacturing (China) Ltd. as a new manufacturing operation for office printers. The Dongguan, Guangdong facility will occupy 90,000 m2 and has an August 2019 expected completion.

Lexmark has introduced a new generation of monochrome and color printers and multifunction laser printers. The A4 color units include: CS421dn, CS521dn, CS622de, CX421ade, CX620 Series and CX625 Series. The workgroup monochrome printers for large workgroups include: MS725 Series, MS820 Series, and MX820 Series. The entry-level devices have print speed of 25 ppm or higher.

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