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Color Technology Transforming the Workgroup Environment

Press release from the issuing company

(Weymouth, MA) January 31, 2006 -- Color printers, printer MFPs, and UCPs are the most important class of products for the office workgroup. InfoTrends projects that placements of black & white office printers and copiers are peaking, and will decline over the next five years as office color machines become the dominant products in most product segments. Vendors that do not have an aggressive color strategy will lose market share and consumables revenues. Recent research findings strongly suggest that vendors should shift their development resources towards color printers and UCP (universal copier/printer) devices and away from new, clean-sheet designs of conventional monochrome devices. The focus of any new black & white product developments should be on further reducing costs, not on adding features. “Vendors need to have a full line of color printers and UCP devices over the next 12 to 18 months,” commented Jeff Hayes, a Group Director at InfoTrends. “We believe that the early movers have been gaining market share, achieving price premiums from early adopters, and garnering important experience in product design, manufacturing, marketing, and sales.” As part of the study, InfoTrends spoke with 1,062 office equipment decision-makers across North America and Europe. The study also included conjoint analysis, a powerful research technique to understand the relative value and trade-offs customers make for different product features and price points. The report is designed to help manufacturers and distributors of office copying and printing equipment optimize their product planning and marketing activities. The study results indicate that customers are very interested in color printers, MFPs, and UCPs, and appear poised to purchase them instead of traditional black & white devices in the future. “The conjoint analysis provides important insights on the value customers place on higher-speed color devices, as well as single-drum vs. tandem engine designs,” noted Hayes. “The research indicated some significant differences in what features companies value by size of company and region.” Vendors that are selling color printers and MFPs should invest in additional marketing to help increase awareness and break customer misconceptions about color in the office. Many customers believe that color printers and copiers for the office are expensive and slow. When InfoTrends asked respondents why the color copier/printer was not the most used device, the results by region were fairly consistent, with high cost per page being the top reason in North America (57%) as well as Europe (70%). The second most cited reason was slow speed (25% in North America, 35% in Europe), and the third most cited reason was high equipment cost (28% in North America, 29% in Europe).