Would an upgrade to their capabilities or simply how you use them prove beneficial to your business?

If so, it’s important to understand how these two things may change in the very near future.

5 Printer Market Trends to Watch This Year

If your company relies heavily on laser printers and related technology, you should keep an eye on the market, as becoming an early adopter of new opportunities could give your company a significant competitive advantage.

While many printer market trends are interesting at the moment, these five are the most important to watch closely in 2018.

1. “Paperless Offices” Won’t Be the End of Printers

Although much has been made about offices going paperless, it hasn’t happened yet, and it’s not going to happen anytime soon.

Laser printers – especially multifunction printers (MFPs) – remain mission-critical devices.

Last year, 65% of respondents reported that they use printers “very frequently.” That meant as often as three to four times a week if not every day.

Despite what many people may assume, Millennials are actually the ones doing the most printing. They were twice as likely to print 6 to 15 pages at a time than those who were 36 or older. The older group generally printed 3 to 5 pages.

Therefore, the first of our printer market trends on this list is simple: “paperless offices” may be growing in popularity, but that’s not going to affect the adoption of laser printers in 2018.

2. The Continued Rise of Multifunction Printers

As we just mentioned, MFPs will continue to find placements in offices across all industries. These machines offer users the ability to print, scan, and fax all from the same device.

Though there are a number of MFPs to choose from, there are enough competitively-priced options that companies no longer need to settle for single-function printers.

According to the IDC’s U.S. MFP Forecast for 2017 – 2021, there will also be a noticeable uptick in what users require from these machines:

“U.S. customers demand more solutions and efficiency out of their MFP devices, regardless of the speed segment. Monochrome laser continues toward a focus on enterprise printing, business inkjet continues to decline but dominate the market, and color continues to be the main driver of growth throughout our forecast period.”

3. The Rise of A3 Devices

Another exciting addition to our list of printer market trends is the rise of A3 devices, which can print out 11 x 17-inch and 8 x 12-inch paper.

There are a lot of reasons to believe that this technology may represent the future of office printing. For one thing, it already represents a $55 billion market. Furthermore, HP has made it clear that they have every intention of creating a significant foothold in it, which is only going to invite more competition. Currently, that list of competitors includes big names like Xerox and Canon.

4. Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses Adopting Managed Print Services

Managed print services (MPS) have long-been commonplace among large companies, especially those in the following industries:

  • Manufacturing
  • Legal
  • Enterprise
  • Healthcare
  • Government
  • Financial
  • Education

However, more and more, small- and medium-sized businesses are enjoying the many benefits of MPS.

This is an obvious fit, as one of these major benefits is that MPS cuts operating costs and reduces waste. The increased demand for larger businesses also created an army of MPS providers, which has helped bring down the cost of these services significantly over the years.

As SMBs continue to upgrade to laser printers and other superior forms of office equipment, MPS will become even more valuable to these companies.

5. The Expansion of MPS

MPS isn’t just spreading into the world of small- and medium-sized businesses, though.

It’s also expanding into IT.

Again, it’s easy to understand why.

IT departments are usually left to provide support for their company’s printing needs. Many of the calls they get at the helpdesk are about printer-related problems. Often, it’s the IT staff who needs to monitor supplies so they can order more before their office is unable to print.

This is not a good use of the IT department’s time. They may be checking toner levels instead of addressing things like network connectivity, software upgrades, computer maintenance, security threats, server requirements, and other essential tasks.

MPS services are even beginning to blend in with many companies’ IT landscapes, providing more than just printer support. While we’re far from full-scale adoption across multiple industries, this is among the printer market trends to watch closely in 2018.

 How to Prepare for These Printer Market Trends

Take a look at your company’s current use of laser printers and think about how becoming an early adopter of some of the above developments could help your business do more. The sooner you find an opportunity and leverage it, the longer you’ll enjoy your newfound competitive advantage.