That’s a Lot of Toner — for a market in decline
Print shows growth in some areas in the world. The question is, is this growth temporary?
I recently attended the Remax Summit in Zhuhai, China. It’s my second time in the last three years, where I have had the honor to speak at this global forum. A gathering place where those in the business of providing aftermarket toner cartridges their components and many other print-related items come together, share ideas and form new collaborations.
The world of toner cartridges is amazing, indeed. Anyone in the printer and consumables industry, which is a serious contender, makes the trip to Zhuhai. The summit is approaching its 15th year, and with each year the show outperforms the previous years. With over 15,000 attendees and over 450 vendors displaying, it’s a spectacular showing.
Does it seem that print is growing?
There is talk of growth in print/equipment and its supplies, of course, this growth is outside the USA and Europe, where it is undeniably declining. There seems a lot of hope in a continuation of the once glory days. However, I caution all who attempt to bet on yesterday’s processes to continue for many more tomorrows. Progress shows up unexpectable to those not expecting it.
There may, in fact, be immediate benefits to those serving a growing market. I believe print’s growth in developing countries can become a hallucinogenic to those with hope for yesterday’s relevance to last through many tomorrows. Unfortunately, progress will always prevail even in places where progresses momentum seems stalled.
If you think about the growth in the developing areas of the world such as Asia, South America, or Africa, think about the reality that as these areas began in their growth, they are using the most accessible technology available to reproduce paper documents. It will be as these new entities mature and enter into innovative digitization processes that the declines we see in the developing parts of the world will affect those in the now developing world.
I don’t believe you can say there is growth in industry because undeveloped areas of the world are using its products and processes as they develop. Instead, this is temporary growth as progress will lead to modernization. As developing nations temporally use what developed societies deem obsolete. Eventually, they will, too, replace obsolescence as the developing countries did before them.
The false security of a continuation of yesterday’s glory can cause hallucinations when visualizing the future. The progress in developing nations should also influence those who are preparing the future for undeveloped nations. The advancement which replaced old processes in the developing nations will also replace processes in underdeveloped countries as they mature, and much quicker than in the past.
So, my friends in the printer consumables business don’t take for granted yesterday’s success instead focus on the reasons why the developed societies replaced what is temporarily growing in the developing nations. It will be those who understand where the customers are going, which will continue planning corresponding routes to remain relevant.
No industry can change the direction of their end-users progress. Sometimes there can be a misunderstanding as to how long developing societies have until they too demand and have access to the latest relevance.
“Status Quo is the Killer of all that will be invented don’t get stuck in Status Quo”
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Do you agree with Ray? Is he a “prophet of doom and gloom”? Has the end of printing as we know it arrived? SO how come some OEMs like HP and aftermarket giants like Ninestar are investing heavily into the future of printing? Share your opinions here.