The worldwide hardcopy peripherals market continues to expand. According to a new report from research giant IDC, the marketplace has grown for a fourth quarter in a row (in the second quarter of 2021), indicating 13,4% year-on-year growth and reaching nearly 22,9-million units.

By Allan Knoetze, chief print officer at Drive Control Corporation (DCC)

Notably, the inkjet vendors recorded high shipments to cater to ongoing demand and to fill order backlogs, while the laser market also saw year-over-year growth.

The above statistic undoubtedly solidifies the pandemic’s continued impact on how we work and its role on key productivity marketplaces such as printer and peripherals. Importantly, the growth of both inkjets and laser devices show there is continued demand for printers and peripherals in both the WFH and office environments.

So where does this leave the channel? For one, gone are the days where a distributor is sent an order from a retail or channel partner for a plethora of printers as determined by the end user.

Now, more than ever, distributors must employ experienced human capital to assist its channel partner with the customer facing engagements. This should include developing device deployment strategies that align with the medium-term operational objectives of a business.

It Is no longer practical to only consider the business type to arrive at a value proposition. Today, we must intrinsically unpack what the requirements are to find a cost effective and functional print policy that talks to the requirements down to an end user level.

For example, at DCC, we have seen a massive uptake in desktop multifunctional printers, all with the capability to print, copy, fax, and scan however data suggests that only 25% of the functionality is being utilised thus overcapitalising on the assets.

Conversely, OEMs are constantly building and improving on mobile applications that assist with functions such a document duplication (copy) and digitisation (scanning). Both functions do not require a traditional device with a document feeder. This means a SFP device will suffice. It requires less maintenance, is smaller, uses less energy and is by default more productive.

The channel needs to work together with IT leaders to make decisions based on the ever-evolving landscape. They can do this by simply highlighting technology advancements and trends to IT leaders to ensure consistent information share to assist in the decision-making process.

Those channel partners, who actively participate in guiding firms into making these calculated decisions will undoubtably see a continued uptake in unit sales. The consultative approach will trump sitting back and processing invoices and will ultimately differentiate distributors as customer centric and solutions orientated as opposed to a facilitator that simply moves boxes.