Shipments of copiers and multifunctional products in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) outnumbered shipments of printers for the first time during the second half of 2006. 

According to Gartner, the combined printer, copier and multifunctional product (MFP) market in EMEA grew 5,2% in the second half of 2006 compared with the same period last year. 28,6-million units were shipped during the second half of 2006. EMEA shipments for 2006 overall totaled 51-million units, a 5% increase on 2005.
"Continued vendor competition and pressure to lower prices fuelled consumer sales, with particular high demand for multifunction and photo products," says Tosh Prabhakar, senior analyst at Gartner. "Copiers and MFPs outsold printers for the first time, taking 51% of the market. This was primarily driven by inkjet MFP sales, which represented 63% of the overall inkjet market."
Price declines also acted as a catalyst for strong and sustained demand for low-end monochrome printers in the small, home office segments and stimulated colour penetration in the office environment.
Hewlett Packard retained its position as market leader in the print market overall, as well as in the inkjet and page printer markets. A strong line up of both inkjet printers and MFPs, combined with aggressive advertising campaigns through the fourth quarter helped boost sales by 19% year on year.
This resulted in a 46% market share for the overall inkjet printer and MFP markets. HP was even more successful in the page printer market, with a 51% market share.
Canon also performed well during the second half of 2006, where sales of its Pixma range of MFPs increased by 68% compared with the same period last year. This helped Canon overtake Epson to become the number two vendor in the inkjet space. Canon's brand in the photography market as well as its product design has been a key driver in overtaking Epson. Canon also retained its number one spot in the page Copier and MFP markets.
Looking ahead, Gartner forecasts that sales of printer, copiers and multifunctional products in EMEA will reach almost 54-million units. Vendors will continue to consolidate their product lines and strong demand for low-end inkjet MFPs will uphold as vendors focus on migrating users from a value purchase to a premium purchase of a photo-enabled MFP devices.