Saudi printer market soars by 26%

According to IDC’s Saudi Arabia printers 2004-2008 forecast, the Saudi market for electronic printers has seen value increase 26.2%, as prices continued to drop and both consumers and businesses favoured low-end machines.

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By  Maddy Reddy Published  July 28, 2004

According to a new IDC study, titled Saudi Arabia printers 2004-2008 forecast, the Saudi market for electronic printers (except small and wide-format printers) used with all levels of computer systems has seen value increase 26.2%, as prices continued to drop and both consumers and businesses favoured low-end machines. The report credits an expanding economy, aggressive pricing, new products and a jump in retail sales for the boost in shipments. After a contraction in 2002 and despite regional instability and internal political conflicts printer shipments in Saudi Arabia rose more than 39% in volume last year. Inkjets were the highest-selling form factor in the price-sensitive Saudi market in 2003, accounting for 64%of shipment volume. Entry-level machines dominated the segment and are expected to do so for quite some time, with the US$100 category likely to outsell all the other segments by more than four-to-one in 2004. Although overall inkjet sales growth is expected to flatten over the next few years, IDC expects the technology to remain an important component of the Saudi printer market. “Prices will continue to drop and competition will pick up,” says Nasar Shashaa, analyst, at IDC Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East and Africa (CEMA)’s office automation group. “Vendors will need to have solid low-end inkjets in their portfolios and strong retail presence, especially to take advantage of the largely unsaturated home market.” Shipments of mono laser printers surged by more than 66% in Saudi Arabia last year. Unlike with inkjets, sales were concentrated in the low-midrange, which represented nearly 62%of mono laser purchases in 2003. While growth should continue and include a shift to midrange models, IDC expects it to be far less dramatic in the next couple years, with demand expected to rise for networked, document management and other value-added solutions. “The presence of low-cost laser printers in retail outlets should spur buying by small and medium-sized businesses,” says Shashaa. “And we expect to see double-digit growth in the color laser segment as businesses start to recognise the value of having color-printing capabilities.” HP was the leading printer vendor in Saudi Arabia in 2003, outselling its nearest competitor by more than ten-to-one. The vendor managed to grab the top spot in both the inkjet and laser segments, with lower end machine accounting for the great majority of its sales. “But there is still room for other vendors to expand their business,” says Shashaa. “To do so they will need to continue investing in aggressive promotional campaigns and in building their brand awareness. They will also need to work closely with channel partners that have strong retail connections while developing complete document solutions.”

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