Sales of A3 and A4 digital cut sheet and continuous production printers once more pointed north in 2017, after the brief decline experienced in 2016, and overall demonstrated encouraging absolute numbers. Numerous trends have impacted growth in this market for more than a decade, including the ease-of-use, lower acquisition and overhead costs associated with this level of equipment, its growing capabilities that replace traditionally more expensive devices, and more.
Despite these positive indicators, the South African economy and other market uncertainty factors resulted in a decline in absolute unit sales in 2016 compared with 2015. In 2015 total Southern Africa unit sales were 805. But the number dropped to just 695 units in 2016 (a 13.6 per cent slump) before recovering sharply to 836 in 2017 (rising 16.9 per cent), indicating overall market size growth.
Konica Minolta was again top of the heap (for the third year running) once more edging Xerox into second spot, which it has also held for three years in a row. Konica Minolta claimed 28.7 per cent of the market while Xerox claimed 25.6 per cent. These two production supremos together represent a whopping 54 per cent of the local market.
Nashua and Canon brought home third and fourth spots respectively and were the final vendors in terms of a double-digit market share. Nashua claimed 12.9 per cent of the market while Canon holds 10.5 per cent. Ricoh came in fifth in 2017 after falling from third spot in 2016 and ITEC held onto its sixth place from 2016.
It is interesting to note the return to form in this sector and that the top three performers in 2017, Konica Minolta, Xerox, and Nashua, all experienced significant increases in absolute numbers sold compared with 2016. Although Konica Minolta’s market share declined marginally from 29.1 per cent in 2016 to 2017’s figure of 28.7 per cent, its actual unit sales rose 17.8 per cent over 2016. Xerox increased both its market share, from 21.7 per cent in 2016 to 25.6 per cent in 2017, and its actual unit sales by 29.3 per cent. Nashua grew its total unit sales by 39.8 per cent from 2016 to 2017 and its market share from 9.4 to 12.9 per cent.
Just the increases of these individual top three vendors in many cases represent more than the total number of units sold by many other vendors throughout the year. Not all of that activity can be put down to cyclical equipment rejuvenation, renewal, and replacement. Ricoh and Sharp were among those that saw declining absolute numbers of units sold in 2017 versus 2016.
These figures are based on the actual number of units sold to market and exclude warehouse stock and are based on hundreds of market interviews throughout the region. They offer an encouraging view into the realities of the growing popularity of digital print technologies despite extraneous Southern Africa trends that may suggest the contrary.
Article by Chris de Beer, Africa regional manager at infoSource
Africa Regional Manager, infoSource
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