The Western European printer and multifunction (MFP) market increased by 18,9% in 1Q21 compared with the same period a year ago, to give a market size of 5,15-million units.

According to research by International Data Corporation (IDC), this was the third quarter in a row that the HCP market increased in Western Europe in unit shipments; as more tenders and contract renewals took place in the office, market values held firm.

Market performance in 1Q21 was the highest shipment figure for a first quarter for over six years, driven by demand for inkjet devices, while laser shipments continued to contract in most countries, though there were pockets of growth.

The pace of recovery across Western Europe differs quite considerably, with some registering the largest growth for many years and others continuing to see some contraction, especially in the main office markets.

The severity and length of lockdown, easing of restrictions, and economic recovery are all having an impact on growth rates. Even as country constraints are relaxed, many workers are still working at home, as a fundamental shift from the office to the home will continue in many organisations.

There are some suppliers that can enable their clients to facilitate this for their employees, but others that cannot. The pandemic could be a watershed moment for the industry as a whole.

“Demand for low-cost devices remains strong going into 2021 and some suppliers have seen their best quarterly performance for many years,” says Phil Sargeant, program director in IDC’s Western European Imaging, Hardware Devices, and Document Solutions group. “This growth is largely driven by continued lockdown demand, but some countries are now seeing their mainstream office shipments increase as many more institutions open up and tenders and contract renewals continue to be fulfilled.”

The overall Western European hardcopy market increased 18,9% year on year in 1Q21, recording shipments of 5,15-million units.

The value for the 1Q21 market in Europe increased by 0,9% to €2,07-billion.

Inkjet shipments increased 29,6% in 1Q21, with consumer and business devices increasing by double-digits.

Laser shipments declined 2,1% for the quarter as color shipments declined, while monochrome showed slight increases.

SDM shipments increased in the first quarter but remain small in comparison to other technologies.