A new study on toner cartridges from IDC has revealed that up to 20% of cartridges sold in Western Europe and 22% sold in Russia in 2012 were new built compatible (NBC) toner cartridges, newly manufactured print consumables conceived to fit into specific printers or MFPs out of the box.

IDC estimates that in 2012 the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) market for third-party toner cartridges — those marketed by a different vendor than the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) — was worth around $3-billion, excluding counterfeit products. Evidence collected by IDC suggests that in the last few years, and in particular as a consequence of the last economic downturn, the EMEA market for NBC has grown very quickly.

However, NBC are now raising concerns throughout the industry because of their detrimental environmental impact.
IDC conducted a study on NBC toner cartridges between March and May 2013 to understand the level of penetration, channel and sales practices, end user perception, and end-of-life processes of these products, and found that:

• As the majority of NBC toner cartridges are not collected back once disused, they are not recycled in an environmentally-friendly way.
• NBC toner cartridges are largely available for all brands of print hardware in EMEA.
• Although the majority of NBC toner cartridges are purchased by small and medium businesses in the private sector, there is evidence of penetration also in the public sector.
Commenting on the results of the study, Mario Lombardo, associate research manager for IDC’s Imaging, Printing, and Document Solutions group, says: “The last few years have seen a boom in NBC toner cartridge sales in EMEA. In the last five years, the market for NBC has managed to flourish, partly thanks to inconsistent regulation throughout EMEA. This unique IDC study on NBC toner cartridges is now raising new concerns about environmental sustainability as it reveals a lack of end-of-life procedures for these products.”