On February 17, International Data Corporation (IDC) published its “Worldwide Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker” for the fourth quarter of 2011. Shipments of hardcopy peripherals such as printers, copiers, and MFPs, fell 4.5 percent compared with the year-ago period to 34.9 million units.
Back when the research firm reported its third-quarter findings (see “IDC Says Hardcopy Hardware Market Grew in Q3, Will Be Flat in Q4”), IDC indicated it expected the market to be “flat for the remainder of the year.” Thus, it seems, fourth-quarter shipments were worse than IDC had anticipated.
Also surprising was that HP saw a steep 11.5 percent decline in worldwide shipments in the fourth quarter. IDC explains that HP saw growth in Japan but a contraction in its hardcopy peripherals business in all other regions. HP remains the market-share leader with a 39.4 percent share in the fourth quarter. Second-ranked Canon saw a 5.2 percent decline in shipments, while Epson, Brother, and Samsung saw shipment growth in the fourth quarter of 6.2 percent. 9.2 percent, and 4.8 percent, respectively.
IDC says that the hardcopy peripherals business performed better in 2011 as a whole than in Q4. For all of 2011, shipments grew 0.7 percent compared with the prior year to 126 million units. For the full year, top-ranked vendor HP saw a 0.7 percent decline in shipments. Canon, in the number-two market-share position, saw 2.6 percent shipment growth. Third-ranked Epson saw a 3.0 percent decline in shipments for the year. Samsung, the number-four vendor, saw 4.3 percent shipment growth. Finally, number-five Brother saw the strongest shipment growth for the full year of 6.5 percent.
IDC’s press release states, “The worldwide hardcopy peripherals market looked much the same at the end of 2011 as it did at the end of 2010, with year-over-year growth of just 0.7 percent and no changes among the top 5 vendors.”
But at least in some respects, 2011 closed on a very different tenor than 2010. The industry saw strong year-over-year shipment growth toward the end of 2010, following the recession. Many hoped the industry would continue to grow following the recession. However, in 2011,IDC reported hardcopy peripheral shipment declines in both the second and the fourth quarters, and in the third quarter growth was an anemic 0.2 percent. Moreover, in 2010, IDC reported that HP saw shipments grow 10 percent in the fourth quarter and an even more robust 15.6 percent for the full year. That was not the case this year, according to IDC. In fact, none of the top five vendors in 2010 saw shipment declines, while in 2011, both HP and Epson had lower shipments of hardcopy peripherals.
All eyes will now be on HP’s financial results to see what the company says about its printer business for its first fiscal quarter ended January 31, 2012.