International research - commissioned by Minolta Japan and carried out by CAP Ventures - to determine the opportunities in the colour printing and copying market, revealed that the demand for faster, better quality and value-for-money colour devices continues to increase.
Minolta South Africa colour division product manager Marianna Gdanis says these trends are mirrored in South Africa, with increasing numbers of users making use of colour devices, and existing colour users demanding faster, more productive and more cost-efficient output.
"The incidence of companies that only use black and white printers is declining, and 56% of these companies have less than four laser printers on their premises. This shows that it is only companies with minimal printing demands that have limited their purchases to black and white devices," says Gdanis. Some 37% of the companies that have no colour devices on site mention insufficient volume to justify the purchase of the colour device, while 17% state that the cost of the equipment is the primary reason for not purchasing colour output devices.
Yet, 50% of the black and white only printer users spend money on outside colour copying, and 23% are currently thinking of purchasing a colour printer or copier in the next year. Gdanis says there is an opportunity to tap into this market with competitively priced colour solutions that are carefully identified for an organisation's output requirements.
Of the respondents who already use a colour printer, 60% still spend money on outside copying, citing the speed, equipment costs and inconsistent print quality as limitations of colour printers. "Internationally, there is still some resistance to purchasing a digital copier with printing capabilities, because of the equipment costs and insufficient volume to justify the purchase. At Minolta South Africa, however, 12% of the digital colour purchases in the last year were for printer only versions, while 4% of the installations were for colour copiers only, and 84% were for digital copiers with network printing capabilities," says Gdanis.
Some 27% of the respondents already make use of a colour copier with printing capabilities, with 57% producing less than 5000 pages per month, 29% producing between 5000 and 100 000 per month, and 10% producing 100 000 pages per month. Gdanis says users often underestimate how many pages they expect to print in colour per month, and once they experience the tangible benefits of colour documents, the output naturally increases. "Presentations, marketing collateral, proofs and reports account for nearly 80% of colour volume," she says.
Many users of colour copier/printers cite speed, operating costs and equipment costs as limitations, and Gdanis believes that suppliers are under pressure to produce faster and more cost-efficient products that demonstrate a return on investment.
Minolta South Africa's success in the colour copier/printer market has been largely due to products that deliver exceptional quality, high copy and print productivity, superior finishing options, and a 30% price advantage over major competitors. This is particularly important, since users cite equipment price, reliability and operating costs as driving forces in product selection.
For more information contact Marianna Gdanis, Minolta South Africa, 011 661 9000.