Fit To Print

While the print industry has been no stranger to challenges in recent years, the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the picture significantly. The impacts on the sector so far have ranged from a nosedive in office printing due to the widespread shift to work-from-home to the dissolution of Xerox’s takeover bid for rival HP Inc. Sales of equipment and services opportunities, meanwhile, are likely on hold to a large degree. “Most offices are closed right now. There’s a lot of dormant printing equipment left unused,” said Keith Kmetz, program vice president for imaging, printing and document solutions at research firm IDC. “So we’re probably not going to see a whole lot of new installations or replacements right now, even if it was time for a company to consider its equipment.”

While no one can say how long the pause will last or exactly how the print industry will come out on the other side, the crisis is not without its opportunities for vendors and solution providers in the industry. Some contend that the broader adoption of work-from-home is creating new opportunities in the print market, with a greater importance placed upon printing in home offices. And once the economy reopens, print vendors are also poised to continue working to boost their hardware and supplies sales with revamped business models and innovations such as refillable cartridges and on-device apps.

As part of CRN’s Printer Week 2020, we’ve rounded up 10 of the top printer industry trends to watch this year.

Unclear Outlook For Office Printing

Around North America, printing in offices has ground to a halt as countless businesses have shifted to work-from-home. Regardless of how the situation evolves, average monthly print volumes for 2020 will be down, because “that equipment in the office is not being used,” Kmetz said. “And at home, you’re just not going to print as much as you might when you’re in the office.”

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