Led by decline in demand from both the consumer and business markets
The Western European hardcopy markets declined 12.1% in the first quarter of 2012 (1Q12) with shipments recording 5.8 million units, against 6.6 million a year ago, according to IDC.
The fall in numbers has been largely led by the sharp decline in the consumer markets while revenues also experienced a fall of 5.3% to $2.9bn in 1Q12 from $3.1bn last quarter as prices continued to fall.
IDC Western European Imaging Hardware Devices and Document Solutions group director Arnaud Gagneux said manufacturers and their channel partners are facing some dilemmas in 2012.
"Many customers are demanding lower costs of printing but with stipulations for improved productivity and workflows, but in general vendors still have the need to push hardware into the office environments to make their business models work, and finding the right balance between the two is a key issue in projecting future revenue and profit streams," added Arnaud.
IDC hardcopy market research program director Phil Sargeant said overall demand from both the consumer and business markets remains subdued.
"In 1Q12 consumer inkjets saw the heaviest declines of 16.6%, while even the combined business markets dipped year on year by 5.1% despite the strong growth in business inkjet shipments," added Phil.
The research firm revealed business inkjets increased 26.3% in the quarter, accounting for 12.6% of the inkjet market, and the installations of high-speed inkjet devices were up by 21.4%, though the numbers did follow the trends of recent quarters.
The figures, from IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker for May 2012, revealed that Germany, the largest market in Western Europe, declined by 13.6% buying 1.51 million units compared with 1.74 million units a year ago.
The UK remained the second-largest market in Western Europe, with 1.06 million units procurement.
This, however, represented a decline of 6.7% with the only the business inkjet market sales growing by 28.4%, similar with other main markets and the European average.
France shipments were down by 4% to below 1 million units, the lowest rate of all the Western European countries.
Revenues in France were up by 4.7%, largely due to increases in some of the mid and high-speed color and monochrome laser markets.