CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company has revealed that unit shipments of printer hardware to Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) grew by 3% year-on-year in Q1 2018 for only the third time in the last two years.
According to the analyst firm, the positive performance was largely due to increased sell-in in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) and Central and Eastern European (CEE) markets, which was sufficient to offset declines across Western Europe (WE), according to data published by CONTEXT.
The Middle East and African (MEA) continued to outperform other regions but the 17% year-on-year increase in unit shipments was similar to that seen in the previous quarter and is on the back of a drop last year, the company stated.
According to CONTEXT, the overall increase was largely driven by inkjet MFPs, although there was rising growth in all other categories too. Sell-in levels of printer hardware continued to increase in the UAE, where the growth of 13% year-on-year was driven mainly by inkjet MFPs, double-digit growth in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and South Africa followed particularly weak performances in Q1 2017.
CONTEXT added that although unit shipments of inkjet MFPs continued to grow, declines in other categories led to an overall decrease in Israel and Egypt.
"Sell-in to Western Europe accounts for about 65% of all printer hardware shipments to EMEA and declined by -3% year-on-year in Q1 2018, although this was an improvement on the previous two quarters," said Ralph Mascarenhas, imaging analyst at CONTEXT. "Sell-in levels of single-function devices continued to fall, making a significant contribution to the overall decrease, while those of MFPs were up on Q1 2017."
Sell-in of printers to CEE for the quarter were up sharply with the region registering a 10% year-on-year growth - the first increase in sell-in in the past year.
The company said there were more unit shipments in all categories, but the overall positive performance was largely driven by an 8% year-on-year increase in laser hardware.
CONTEXT said sell-in to Russia makes up almost half of all the sales to CEE so a +10% increase there was another major driver. There was significant growth in sell-in of inkjet multifunction printers (MFPs) to the Czech Republic, Romania and Russia.
While most Western European countries saw printer sell-in fall, there was positive performance in France and Italy where shipments grew by 1% and 2% respectively, largely due to strong sell-in of inkjet MFPs.