IDC’s China Quarterly Consumables Tracker (Q1 2013) shows that the total shipment of printing consumables in China in Q1 2013 was nearly 29,96-million units, declining by 8,2% compared with Q4 2012 and flat year-on-year.

The revenue of printing consumables in Q1 2013 reached $530-million, a decrease of 6% compared with last quarter and a slight decrease of 0,8% year-on-year.

Raymond Huo, senior market analyst: Computing Systems Research at IDC China, says, “As Q1 is usually a low season for the sales of printing consumables, the revenue in Q1 2013 showed a marked decline compared with last quarter.

“However, under the background of steady growth in printer sales and recovering market demand, IDC forecasts that Q2 2013 will see a significant rebound in both the shipment and the revenue of printing consumables. The revenue in 2013 is expected to grow by 12,7% over last year, while the total revenue of inkjet and laser consumables will amount to $2,2-billion.”

Key findings in the tracker include:
* Cartridge always dominates the printer inkjet consumables market. However, relying on its advantages of more economical and practical, the continuous ink supply system (CISS) is gradually eroding the market share. Many professional CISS brands have already won a good reputation among numerous domestic small and medium enterprise (SME) customers.

High-capacity cartridges such as Epson L Series, HP HP-saving Series and Canon M Series have provided new directions for the original inkjet vendors, and become an irreversible trend in the inkjet consumables market.

Regardless of whether they are original or compatible cartridge vendors, the problem remains: how to realise technical upgrade of the CISS products concerning their easy use and stability, so as to provide users with easier to operate and more stable printing products.

* Considering the increasing costs of recycling, processing and re-engineering, as well as the technical improvement of DIY products and the impact of CISS, more compatible cartridge vendors are opting out from the cartridge dominated inkjet consumables market, and focusing on the wider commercial laser consumables market.

IDC data shows that the shipment of inkjet consumables in Q1 2013 has reduced by 3,9% compared with the same period in 2012, while the shipment of laser consumables has increased by 7,8% over the same period. The core competition in the laser consumables market comes from the competition between the original cartridge vendors and the increasingly growing compatible brands.

The implementation of government procurement and subcontract policies has helped the compatible brands with huge price advantage obtain wider market room. The original vendors’ maintenance of product price has caused some loss of industrial customers, such as in the medical industry; over 80% of the laser consumables market has been covered by the compatible brands.

The original vendors are unable to suppress the erosion of compatible brands. They need to attach more importance to retaining the existing customers and enlarging the market demand from emerging industries. Large state-owned and foreign enterprises become the target that both the original and compatible consumables vendors are competing for.

* Since the advent of printing consumables, counterfeit products have been following along with market development. Anti-counterfeiting activities and anti-counterfeiting technical upgrades conducted by the original vendors have significantly restrained the counterfeit sales channels of retail terminals.

The sales channels of public procurement market are locked by the directional suppliers, thus the space for counterfeit products has been narrowed. However, with the explosive growth of the size of Internet sales market, network has increasingly become the main channels for the sales of counterfeit products, posing a threat to the original products which cannot be ignored.