South Africa and Botswana to Lead Africa Printer Marketby Harry W. Analyst
Spurred by high investment in information and communication technology, and the energy sector, African economies are progressing at a rapid pace. African Development Bank recently released a report stating that more than a third of countries in Africa are enjoying annual GDP growth at more than 6%.
Attracted by the tremendously growing market opportunities in Africa, leading printer manufacturers have ventured into this region to capitalize on growing opportunities at a time when global market prospects for printers have turned extremely volatile.
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High demand for multifunction printers or MFP across small and medium sized enterprises and the corporate and government segments is the key factor driving the market for printers in Africa. Additionally, document and MPS services offered by vendors are also crucial across various end-use industries, which have significantly contributed to the growth of the printer market in this region.
Printers are used across enterprise and corporate printing and consumer printing solutions. In the past, the printers market in Africa has experienced a surge in demand for color prints. The shift from black and white printing to color printing has aided the growth of inkjet and laser printers and in turn, has been boosting the growth of the overall printers market. Inkjet printers market has been experiencing new technology trends such as high-speed continuous-feed inkjet and ultra-high volume inkjet printers and this trend is also influencing printers market in Africa.
These technological developments are expected to bring down the average cost per color impression significantly and thus have been spurring demand in recent years. Dot-matrix has been experiencing growth in applications where low-cost of printing is more significant than the quality of print. Corporate and enterprise, education sector, public sector, printing industry/media and consumer sector including small office and home office users, among others are the major end-users of printers.
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Majority of printer vendors including Hewlett-Packard Co., Epson, and Brother, among others have manufacturing locations in regions outside Africa such as China, Japan and Taiwan while they significantly depend on their distributor and reseller networks in the African region. This leads to increased foreign currency transaction and risk. Thus it becomes imperative to have highly efficient and structured distribution partners to operate the printers business in Africa.
The low cost of laser printers has played a significant role in triggering the printers market in Africa. The upheaval triggered by technological advances, which radically reduced the average cost per color impression, has further spurred the demand for printers in the region. Demand for printers is appreciably high across end-use segments such as the education sector, corporate enterprises, the public sector, the consumer sector, and the printing industry and media. These factors will play a crucial role in ensuring sustainable growth of the printers market in Africa.
South Africa was the largest market for printers in 2012, accounting for 20.8% of the overall market. Factors such as increasing demand for managed print services coupled with large format printers and MFP have contributed to the high demand for printers in this country. In the last decade, Botswana has witnessed rapid expansion of industries such as banking and finance and telecom. This has significantly boosted the demand for printers. Increasing deployment of MFPs and laser color printers across these industrial verticals in Botswana will result in high demand from the printer market.
Some of the leading vendors in the Africa printers market are Hewlett-Packard Development Co. LP, Canon, Inc., Brother Industries, Ltd., Seiko Epson Corp, and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
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