Figures recently released by International Data Corporation (IDC) as part of its annual Point of Sale (POS) Printer Tracker program show new momentum behind POS printers in Western Europe.
According to IDC, after a sluggish trend in 2014, approximately 810 000 units were shipped in 2015 representing a 4,5% leap compared to the previous year.
The trend was patchy by geography, however, with double-digit growth in Benelux and Southern Europe, buoyant results in Dutch speaking countries (DACH), and negative trends in France and the UK.
Traditional thermal POS printers continued to be by far the most important POS printer segment, accounting for almost 80% of units and experiencing healthy growth in shipments in 2015 compared to 2014.
Portable printers were the fastest growing segment across the Western European region, however, rising 20% compared to the previous year.
Sales of slip-only and impact POS printers also showed healthy growth and an almost flat trend, while on the contrary sales of hybrid, dual station, and multistation POS printers continued to decrease sharply.
The leading POS printer vendors in Western Europe in 2015 were Epson, Star Micronics, and Bixolon. In particular:
* Epson captured over 35% of the market in terms of shipments, increasing its share by over a percentage point thanks to strong results in the Benelux region and Southern Europe in particular.
* Star Micronics reaffirmed its position as number two vendor, with approximately 15% market share, although losing a few decimal points of market share compared to 2014.
* Bixolon posted tremendous shipment growth of over 40%, and as a result captured nearly 13% of market share, up from 10% compared to 2014. The result was mainly driven by strong growth in thermal and portable POS printers in the DACH region. The Korea headquartered vendor currently leads in the portable POS printer space.
“The POS printer market is clearly experiencing new momentum,” says Mario Lombardo, senior analyst at IDC EMEA. “A number of factors are behind this trend.
“Firstly, a continued reduction in thermal POS printer prices is believed to have helped close large deals while compromising margins. In general, mobility is also playing an important role. Users are renewing devices and opting for connected portable POS printers that can answer to the need for more versatile retail layouts.
“With the general increase in mobility, the retail market has seen a surge in the use of handheld devices and specific retail apps coupled with standalone connected POS printers. This option is increasingly preferred to all-in-one ePOS solutions because of lower costs and relatively easy installation.
“The increase in retail cloud services is also believed to be positively impacting this market creating more demand for connected devices. On the country basis other specific local factors are playing a role in driving the market. Meanwhile, legislative changes in the DACH region and economic recovery in Spain are believed to have had a particularly positive impact in 2015.”
The Western European market for POS printers is expected to grow by 2,7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next five years, hitting over 920 000 units in 2020. In this period many headwinds are expected to impact the retail and hospitality sector. The majority of retail buyers will continue to demand printed receipts and these will remain the most immediate promotional tool for retailers.
However, as handheld mobile devices and digital receipts increase, retail layouts are likely to change radically, allowing for general versatility and staff mobility. As a result, portable POS printers will continue to be in high demand, generating an estimated CAGR of over 12% from 2015 through 2020.