Africa Printer Market Continues to Harbor Strong Growth Potential Despite Second-Quarter Downturn



The growth potential of the African hardcopy peripherals (HCP) market remains intact and this is despite suffering a slight decline in Q2 2014 according to the International Data Corporation whose latest figures show the region experienced year-on-year declines of 1.6% in volume and 2.8% in value during Q2 2014.

South Africa, Egypt, and Nigeria which are the biggest IT markets have all reported a strong recovery in shipments from the corresponding period of 2013, but the remaining markets all came under considerable inventory pressure after experiencing a particularly strong Q1 2014.

Tender activities within the government sector, coupled with growth in the SMB segment, were the main drivers for growth in South Africa and Nigeria while a cause of concern as per the report is the unofficial channels.

“Despite a push by vendors to offer competitive prices, products imported via unofficial channels remain a threat, particularly in markets with less developed channels,” says Ashwin Venkatchari, senior program manager for imaging, printing, and document solutions at IDC Middle East, Turkey, and Africa.

“However, IDC believes that despite the small decline seen in Q2 2014, Africa will continue to offer strong growth potential across all hardcopy technologies going forward. HCP shipments will initially be driven by the implementation of large infrastructure projects across the continent and will be further boosted by the growing SMB segment,” he added.

Inkjet shipments declined 0.7% year on year in Q2 2014 to total 280,000 units, while the value of those shipments increased 4.9% to $27 million. Inkjet devices priced below $100 continued to be the most popular, posting year-on-year growth in both volume and value; however, this was outweighed by a decline in demand for midrange devices.

The inkjet segment’s value increase was driven by devices priced above $400, which continued to post strong growth thanks to the introduction of HP’s Officejet ProX series and Brother’s MFC-J6910DW device.

Over the same period monochrome laser shipments declined 4.6% to total almost 265,000 units, with a corresponding decrease in value of 2.6% to $132.5 million. A decline in the 1–20ppm speed segment was the fundamental reason for the overall decline in the mono laser market, with all other speed segments showing year-on-year growth.

In contrast to the other major technologies, color laser shipments increased 12.5% in Q2 2014 to total just under 48,000 units. However, the market’s value declined 6.4% to $68.8 million as increased competition forced a decrease in prices, a trend that IDC expects to continue as the market for color devices grows. Shipments of serial dot matrix devices remained flat in Q2 2014 at just over 11,000 units, although there was a 5.0% decline in value to $6.5 million. Ongoing migration to newer, more efficient technologies contributed to this decline.