Seiko Epson pushed its inkjet market share above 20 per cent for the first time in two years, following an internal restructuring drive, according to a report published this week by researchers from Japan's largest brokerage, Nomura Securities.
Generally, growth in sales of all printer types was weak in the last quarter of 2007, with a decade of rising sales of colour laser printers finally coming to an end, said Tokyo-based Nomura analyst, Tetsuya Wadaki.
A shift in strategy at printer giant Hewlett Packard (HP) may spell trouble for leading laser printing technology supplier Canon.
“In the fourth quarter, Canon, the sector’s top company on a printer engine basis, saw continued contraction at its laser printer business. HP, which has strong links with Canon, is actively making the shift from laser printers to inkjet printers, and we think this represents a risk for Canon’s earnings over the medium term,” said Wadaki. HP and Canon's sales have also been impacted by a slowdown in the North American market.
“We think the shift to inkjet products has the potential to dramatically change the balance of power in the office equipment sector,” he added.
HP is attempting to bring its inkjet technology into other office equipment markets, such as copiers and print-on-demand systems. However, the company has so far only managed to establish a toehold of about one per cent of the North American copier market, according to Nomura.
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