European Printer Distributing Sales Grow Significantly in June
Sales of printers through European distributors increased 17.2% year-over-year in units in June 2021, and revenues grew 21.8%, according to CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.
Consumer printers, which were in very short supply during April and May, saw increased year-on-year sales in June, thanks to deliveries from manufacturers addressing the backlog of orders leading to the growth of 21% in terms of units.
In the business printer segment, multifunction printer sales grew 11% in June, while the business inkjet category saw volume growth of 44.8% and revenue up by 52.8% with increased sales of entry-level and mid-range printers (costing less than €600). On the other hand, overall business laser sales were down by 17.2% in June, mainly due to a shortage of entry-level devices. The revenue generated during this month increased by 5.1% year-on-year as companies and individuals purchased more expensive mid-range and high-end business printers (priced above €400) for reopened offices.
With more people going back to the office and printing there, Context expected that increased demand for both hardware and toner in the months to come – although it is difficult to differentiate between true demand and potential duplicated orders due to (over-)reaction to low supply. “There are still reasonable stock levels for mid-range and high-end laser printers, and numbers are secure for Q3 2021. However, whether there will be further growth in Q4 in this segment depends on the ability of manufacturers to produce these printers and address increased demand,” said the spokesman of Context.
The distribution channel is facing shortages and volatile supply due to disruption in the supply chain and component production lines. Manufacturers are more likely to allocate and sell components such as microchips to more profitable industries (such as the automotive sector) in times of scarcity. Vendors will try to optimise profits by adjusting their product mix, shifting production between inkjet and laser printers (depending on component availability) when possible. The components shortage will also impact printer production time, stretching the average from the usual four weeks to as much as four months. In addition, a container shortage and increased shipping costs mean that price increases are expected across hardware and consumables at all levels. With distributors able to select the deals that generate the best margins, the increased costs will, ultimately, be borne by the final customer.
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