According to new data from the IDC (www.idc.com) research group, large format printer (LFP) shipments grew 3.5% in 2014 when compared to 2013 while revenue from those shipments declined by less than -1%. Product mix changes and some very aggressive price promotions were responsible for the revenue declines.
“The fourth quarter is often the strongest quarter of the year for the wide format digital printer market in some segments and some geographies, particularly due to the aggressive promotion by major manufacturers and distributors,” says Phuong Hang, program director, Worldwide Large Format Printer Tracker, IDC. “Shipment growth is an important indicator for the overall wide format market because even though hardware revenue declined slightly, the vast majority of the decline came from inkjet products, and with inkjet products a great deal of revenue is driven by the consumption of supplies.”
Highlights of the IDC report include:
° The wide format CAD/Technical printer market segment continued to grow, with inkjet printer shipment growth more than offsetting the decline in toner-based wide format printers. Overall, the CAD/Technical segment grew more than 4% worldwide in 2014.
° Across all technologies, wide format graphics printer shipments grew 2.1% year over year in 2014. Continued decline in the conventional aqueous inkjet printer market was offset by growth in the Latex, eco-solvent, due-sublimation, and UV-curable inkjet printer market segments.
For the year, the top five suppliers to the wide format printer market remained unchanged, but within the segments there were small changes in market share among the vendors.
HP finished 2014 as the global leader in the wide format market. HP’s strong performance in the technical market and dominance in the Latex segment have driven growth in HP’s market share both in the fourth quarter and for 2014 in total. Canon maintained its number 2 position among wide format printer manufacturers with 20% market share based on worldwide shipments.
Epson was the number 3 worldwide supplier to the wide format digital printer market in 2014 and is seeing growth in its new dye-sublimation and technical printers. Roland was the fourth-ranked supplier to the worldwide large format printer market based on its strength in the eco-solvent business and growing presence in the UV-curable and dye-sublimation markets.
Ricoh’s strength in the wide format toner-based market, combined with its growing technical inkjet printers, give it the number five spot among wide format digital printer manufacturers. The top five wide format printer manufacturers make up more than 80% of global wide format shipments, but only two-thirds of revenue.
With manufacturers like HP, Canon, and Epson dominating the aqueous segment, this points to the maturity of the conventional aqueous graphics and solvent inkjet markets and the fragmented nature of the wide format UV-curable inkjet segment.