While most of the continent’s HCP markets contracted in Q1 2015, Nigeria bucked the trend by recording year-on-year growth in both volume and value on the back of successful vendor promotions in the color inkjet space. Government tenders and demand from the SMB segment also helped the country’s laser market to grow, a scenario that was replicated in South Africa.
“We have seen consistent demand from SMBs within the continent and we project this will continue over the coming few years, despite significant challenges remaining due to continuing currency fluctuations” says Roberto Alunni, research manager for imaging, printing, and document solutions at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey. “IDC believes that despite the year-on-year decline seen in Q1 2015, Africa will continue to offer strong growth potential across all the hardcopy technologies in the medium to long term. The growth will be led by businesses, as regardless of their size, reliance on physical documents continues”
Overall inkjet shipments to Africa fell by a quarter in Q1 2015 to total just over 210,000 units, with a corresponding decline in value to approximately $21.0 million. While inkjet devices priced below $100 remained the most popular due to their affordability, devices aimed at the small office/home office (SOHO) segment were one of the few to show robust growth, mirroring the performance seen in the laser segment.
Laser shipments declined in volume and value for Q1 2015, with a drop of 8.2% and 10.3%, respectively, to just under 250,000 units worth $162 million. A decline in the entry-level A4 segment was the main reason for the overall decline in the laser market, as this segment is focused on retail channels and reflects the pressures that consumers have faced due to the currency fluctuations. However, demand remained stable for higher speeds and in the A3 segment, which reflects continued investment in IT infrastructure from businesses.
Serial dot matrix (SDM) shipments dropped considerably from a year ago to just over 9,500 units, while there was a corresponding decline in value to approximately $6.50 million. Migration by the major users of SDM technology (such as banks and government institutions) to newer and more efficient technologies continues to be the principal driver of this decline.