Major Trends in Asian Consumables Markets

With approximately 4.3 billion people, Asia Pacific hosts 60% of the world’s current human population. After 2008 global financial crisis, AP Region has emerged as a key to global economic growth. Though major economies like India and China are facing slow economic growth, large population, low technology penetration and growing awareness offer ample opportunities to vendors.

Unlike consumers from developed countries, consumers in most Asia Pacific regions are ‘value sensitive’. For example, they look for the value of the money they spend. As a result, the market has witnessed strong growth in sales of economic aftermarket products historically.

Growth in sales of aftermarket products not only affected sales of OEM printer supplies but also consumers’ decision on how they buy printers. As they are losing supplies business, OEMs came up with innovative solution for Asia Pacific market. They have launched inkjet printer with relatively high cost of acquisition but lower cost of consumables coupled with high page yield. This has lowered the cost of print per page (CPP) and total cost of ownership (TCO). Such strategy has helped OEMs gain share in consumer market and SMBs and now OEMs are targeting corporate users and offering inkjet printers with lower CPP and high print speed.

On the other hand, laser toner market remained a battle ground for OEMs as well as third party vendors.  Unlike developed markets like US and Europe, there are less legal hassles in AP countries as most of the major economies are low income countries and cost is major concern for SMBs  and corporate. OEMs focus more on Managed Print Services to retain their share of originals. They have targeted corporate and government departments to increase their share in the most of the markets. Vendors like Ricoh have launched printers with refillable toners to offer low cost of printing and to cater the need of the developing markets like India, China and Malaysia.

Future Outlook

IDC opines that Asia Pacific market will continue to record growth in sales of printers and consumables. As technology penetration in most of the countries is low, it offers strong opportunities for vendors. New technology products like mobile print, air print will make printing easier and catalyze the growth of printing in the region. Unlike western economies, patents and legal issues will not be the major factors in AP region. Earlier vendors used to talk more about cost of acquisition, but CPP and TCO will be the key in the coming years.

Exclusively contributed by Pankaj Chawla, Research Manager, Imaging, Printing & Document Solution, IDC Asia/Pacific

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