Despite a 10% year-over-year increase for the full year 2012, the colour laser multi-function peripheral (MFP) market declined 1% in the fourth quarter of 2012 (4Q12) as ongoing weakness in the global economy finally caught up with this segment. 
This marks the first quarter where colour laser MFP contracted year-over-year to 995 000 units. Overall, the worldwide hardcopy peripherals market declined 11,2% year-over-year in 4Q12 to 31,1-million units, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Hardcopy Peripherals Tracker.
“The inkjet market is largely responsible for the declines due to weak consumer demand. However, business inkjet growth is solid, and these premium-priced products are helping vendors to overcome some of their consumer revenue declines.
“IDC expects the market will slowly begin to recover as consumer confidence returns, but growth rates will be in the single digits,” says Phuong Hang, programme manager: Worldwide Hardcopy Peripheral Trackers at IDC.
Technology highlights include:
* Inkjet accounted for 64% of the total hardcopy peripherals market in 4Q12 with more than 19,8-million units shipped, declining 14% year-over-year. All regions experienced year-over-year declines in the quarter.
* Monochrome laser represented 27% of the total market, up two points from 4Q11. Monochrome continues to be very much in demand in business environments, especially in times of financial hardship. Most pages printed are in fact monochrome, and the A4 MFP is becoming a popular model in environments where no colour is required.
* Colour laser decreased 11% year-over-year on shipments of more than 1,7-million units. Eventually, colour devices will overtake monochrome in volume. There are aspects of monochrome that are declining, but colour is rapidly developing in both A4 and A3 markets.
HP leads the global hardcopy peripherals market with 38,5% market share and more than 12,9-million units shipped in 4Q12. HP achieved its best year-over-year results in China, growing 1% to over 983 000 units in the fourth quarter. For the full year, HP held 38,9% of the overall market on shipments of nearly 13-million units.
Canon, the number two ranked vendor, captured 22,4% of the market in 4Q12, up three points from a year ago. With 6,9% year-over-year growth in the quarter, Canon had the best performance among the top five vendors. Canon also grew an impressive 40% year-over-year to reclaim the top spot in Japan, with more than 1,8-million units shipped in the region.
Epson maintained its spot among the top three vendors in 4Q12 with 14,4% share, down two points from a year ago, and shipments of 4,5-million units. Epson’s best results came in the US, where it experienced 11% year-over-year growth in the quarter. For the full year, Epson experienced a decline of 23,9% year-over-year, the sharpest drop among the top five.