European printer hardware sales saw a surge in the fourth quarter of 2022 (Q4, 2022), outpacing predictions, according to CONTEXT.
The data showed a 12.3% year-on-year increase in unit sales and a 27.8% rise in revenue, boosted by promotions designed to clear entry-level stock and strong demand for higher-end printers. These factors helped the market perform significantly better than CONTEXT’s most optimistic scenario for the quarter.
Poor market performance in 2021 means the comparatives are favourable, but the product mix has changed over the last year. In Q4 2022 there was more emphasis on high-end consumer printers and mid- and high-end business devices – particularly expensive multi-function laser printers – than in 2021. Alongside price increases for mid- and high-end consumer and commercial products, these factors are largely responsible for the growth in revenues, which has been strong since Week 38. There has been something of a slowdown since Week 52, although both markets are still some way above the revenue trend index baseline.
Small and medium resellers enjoyed a strong end to 2022, driven by business sales, while the e-tailer channel saw steady growth since Week 40, reflecting a rebound in consumer spending.
On the other hand, the consumables market saw a significant decline in Q4, with unit sales down 18.2% YoY and revenue down 11.4%. The drop was mostly due to a decrease in sales of ink cartridges, which make up over 80% of consumable sales in the region.
The decline was further exacerbated by a fall in toner sales. Refillable ink bottles are gaining popularity, and this trend is expected to continue throughout 2023 and beyond, as they offer a more economical option for consumers facing higher living costs. Subscription models are also becoming more common, and as they are primarily sold directly, their value is not captured in the distribution channel data.