The copier industry has been under great threat of advances in technology and the challenges put forward by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is of no surprise that the recent technological changes in incorporating all the functions of copying, printing, scanning, and faxing into a single device have changed the course of the copier industry. Devices that once were only limited for companies with large budgets are now available for all kinds of consumers.
COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant decline in the upward climb of the industry since most of the offices are now closed and the machines are all at hold. Fewer products are being sold, fewer after-sales services are being required, and a lot of copier equipment is unused due to the pandemic. These challenges have shaped the industry in a new way and are simultaneously blossoming new opportunities, as a result, the following new trends are circulating the copier industry:
Decreasing Demand for Copier Hardware
For the past 5 months, work-from-home has become the new normal for offices. With no information about how the situation unfolds, the average use of copier machines will go down resulting in decreased sales of copier equipment to the offices and industries. The trend for copier machines is changing because people are more likely to use their computers for viewing information rather than making print volumes using their copiers and pages, which most employees don’t have at their homes.
Adapting the Changes Technologically
Work-from-home being the new normal has introduced a set of new challenges in the copier and print industry. With a declining use of office copier machines, the sale and services of copier hardware have hit rock bottom. Globally, the sale of copiers and printers have gone down 4.6% to 94.5 million a year from 99.1 million a year. To cope up with these losses, giants of the industry like HP have introduced home-friendly printers with easily refillable cartridges. These new machines have stepped on the sale of old copier hardware to pave way for work-friendly copiers and printers.
Technology is Where the Future Is
Most of the copying and printing process is intertwined with computer processing and documentations. However, the future of data computation and storage has changed and information is flowing from different streams of internet, cloud storage, and portable storage waiting to be copied, scanned, and emailed. To cope up with such fast-flowing technologies, companies are now focusing on the development of machines that can print multiple stream data with physical as well as mobile-commands enabling mobile printing. Companies are also working on more user-convenient devices aiming to introduce voice commands along with HMIs.
Rise of Pending Mergers
Copier and print industry has been far behind on mergers as compared to other industries. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, consolidation efforts were not given their fair share by companies to improve their businesses. However, the unpredictable times that came with the pandemic are now rooting for mergers to occur more than ever. In November 2019, Xerox launched its bid on HP which recently had acquired Samsung’s print business, however, the bid was turned down by HP. There would be no surprise if these bidding processes start again once the economy stabilizes and the companies lacking behind strive for survival.
Changes in Copier Bussiness Models
A large chunk of copier and print companies’ profits come from the supply of copier hardware and printer parts. However, with the declining use of copier machines, the after-sales of hardware and parts have faced downfall resulting in decreased profits. To overcome these losses, companies like HP are now shifting their profits from the sales of copier hardware to the sales of copier models that are compatible with third-party hardwares. This change in the business model holds in abeyance, the traditional model of the copier industry.