Demand for business inkjet printers and multifunction products is increasing. Many small office/home office (SOHO) and small and medium-sized business (SMB) customers are realizing that inkjet technology is an affordable alternative to laser in many environments, and in many cases, these products offer greater functionality than some laser devices and cost effectiveness over time. In recent years, inkjet manufacturers' revenues and profits from consumer markets have declined. Therefore, more R&D funding has been directed toward the business inkjet markets where growth opportunities are strong.
"The printer market and its installed base are declining," said Julio Vial, research manager, IDC EMEA Imaging, Printing, and Document Solutions. "Vendors are acquiring and building alliances with software companies to advance in the managed print service [MPS] and document solution market. However, production printers have become important enough to offset the overall page volume decline."